Saturday, August 20, 2005

Poor Form

As much as I love the online world, I do think the Internet as a tendency to temporarily overload peoples' good sense.

I was causally surfing author sites this morning when I came upon a certain author's bulletin board. As a general rule, I do not even read such boards because they are often populated by rabid fangirls.

So imagine my surprise when, while looking through the folders on this board, I saw several posts from readers who were "disappointed" in this author's last book.

Yes, this board was on said author's web site!

I'm sorry, I don't understand this.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Wendy, you review books, sometimes harshly. How is that not the same thing?"

Yes, I do review books. Yes, I've given bad reviews to books. But I do not take that bad review and e-mail it to the author or post it on her bulletin board. If the author chooses to Google for the review, well that I can't help. But I don't knock on her door and leave a flaming pile of dog shit there for her to discover.

I'm sorry - but it takes some serious balls to e-mail an author and tell her you hated/was disappointed in her book. How can people think this is normal behavior? It just smacks of rudeness.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be vocal in your opinions. By all means - rant on, rant long and rant hard. I do. But don't slap the author upside the head for it. If they come across my rant while surfing around cyberspace that's one thing. They've gone looking for it. They shouldn't have the rant thrust upon their doorstep.

Seriously, am I totally off base here? Anyone out there think it's "OK" to e-mail an author and say, "Your last book sucked big monkey balls!" Really, curious minds want to know.

Or has PMS, lack of sleep and general malaise about my job finally fried my brain?

11 comments:

Tara Marie said...

I'm with you, it's the "if you don't have anything nice to say..."

If someone wants to post something to their own blog, comment on someone blog that is reviewing it or on a review message board that is one thing but to actually put it on the authors website is just rude.

~debbie~ said...

I told agree. Rant and rave on the message boards at reviews sites but never, never talk bad about an author's baby in her house.

I know a certain author that will actually sic her fans on you if you talk bad about one of her books. I made that mistake one time...got hate mail from her loyal dog pound. I only rant and rave now about wasted bucks to my trusted friends.

Alison Kent said...

Yes, I've had readers email me and tell me what I did wrong in a book, what they didn't like about it, etc. I've thought a lot about how the internet and accessibility of authors has changed things. It's almost like since the contact is so easily made, anything goes!

Marianne McA said...

It's not just the rabid fangirl thing, Wendy - you get to know a group of people, and a lot of it is just socialising and general messing about.

Yes, it's perplexing. But it happens suprisingly frequently. When the posters aren't trolls, I always wonder what response they hope for. If you go to your local Chess Club, and explain that you think Chess is boring - where's the discussion to go from there?
Equally odd, though much rarer, are posters who appear and ask if the books are any good. It's not the most obvious place to seek an impartial opinion.
Having said all that, it is board policy on the fanboard I post on that any poster is free not to like any book (as long as they are well-mannered about it). Most times a book is released at least some posters won't like it. If we couldn't discuss that, it'd be a very dull business.

"I thought The Book was just super! What did you think, Tracy?"

"I thought it was simply super too!!!"

I suppose it's up to the author to decide the tone of the board - whether she wants it to be wholly positive, or if she finds other sorts of feedback acceptable.

Kristie (J) said...

I agree with you too. What you say on your own blog is one thing but it is rather unmannerly to visit an author's message board to say you don't like their books.

Candy said...

Eeep. I did that when Cindy Cruciger accused the Smart Bitch review of being full of mistakes. It started out as a discussion of the review and why I didn't think one of the mistakes she pointed out was an error, and when her friends showed up to defend her book, I started delving into the reasons I didn't agree. At that point, I realized I was being an asshole, said as much and left.

It's still one of those things I did that make me want to smack myself. Sigh.

Tara Marie said...

So are you going to tell us whose website has rude visitors??

Tel said...

im sorry butif the authors dont know their workis being critisised then they can continue in the same vain.

Take J K Rowling(Harry Potter)i dont see anyone critising her books, i mean wizard storys that have been done before & better.

So now she'll continue to write the same rubbish.

Meh.

Kate R said...

you got spammed too? or were rabid fangirls out to get you?

Kristie (J) said...

To Tel; I think they would know their work is being critized just by doing a bit of surfing at review and message board sites. It's still rather presumptious to go to their own message board and bitch.

Wendy said...

Kate:
Yeah, I got spammed. Hosers.

Kristie:
What you said in response to Tel. I'm not saying readers shouldn't bitch. By all means - bitch away. But I still think it's rather bad manners to go to the author's "house" to do your ranting.

Tara Marie - Oh OK. It was Thea Devine. Not all the disappointing comments "rude", but there were a couple that made me raise my eyebrows.