Thursday, April 1, 2010

And You Think I'm A Harsh?

I've been hanging around the online romance community for more years than I care to admit, which means at this stage in the game I ignore all "discussions" on reviewing and "mean girl reviewers and/or bloggers." Mostly because it's pointless. Authors hate bad reviews. Readers like to vent when they read, in their estimation, a crappy book.

And never the twain shall meet....

My assertion has always been, that outside of anonymous troll-y Amazon reviews that no one in their right mind puts any stock in anyway, most of the reviews I see online for romance novels are actually pretty tame. Even the "bad" ones. If you don't have a life, and were willing to wade through my archives to find D and F rated reviews, you'll notice that while I tend to froth at the mouth (a lot, in some cases), I never make it personal. I never say the author is ugly, smells bad, is a hack, should be publicly flogged for subjecting this crap on an unwitting reading public etc. etc. etc.

I may think it - but I never say it. I tend to keep the focus where it belongs - on the brain-dead characters and nonsensical plot lines.

Also, I've read way nastier reviews from "mainstream press," than anything I've seen some online reviewer/blogger cough up. This coming from the girl who reads book reviews...for a living.

But if you won't take my word for it, how about a juicy prime rib of an example? Here at the Bat Cave I occasionally like to educate as well as entertain, so consider this today's public service announcement. An example of Hey, It Could Be Worse or At Least They Didn't Say That About My Book....

Authors, the next time you see a negative review for one of your books online, take a deep breath and read this excerpt from the review for the children's book The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy by Clive Cussler, which can be found in the April 1, 2010 issue of Kirkus Reviews:
"Cussler's sequel to his abysmal Adventures of Vin Fiz (2006) suffers from all the same problems: stilted prose, gender stereotypes, unrealistic dialogue, deus-ex-magicus solutions to every problem. Both read as if written by someone who closed the cover on their last children's book in 1940. A publishing event that demands an apology to the industry, all children and the trees that gave their lives."
(Emphasis Super Librarian)
Now go back and read that "scathing" online review from that "mean girl" for your book.

Um, yeah.

P.S. - I've read many a snotty review in Kirkus over the years, but this one, by far and away, takes the cake. Actually, come to think of it, this may be the meanest review I've ever read. Period.

P.P.S. - Feel free to star this blog post in your feed reader, bookmark it in your web browser, or print it out for future reference. Go ahead. I won't mind.

15 comments:

Janicu said...

Yikes. Apology to the trees and children. That's up there in the harshness scale.

Writer and Cat said...

But is it available as an ebook? At least then we leave the trees out of it. The kids will just have to suffer.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Even with that mean review, Cussler will probably sell like hotcakes.

Good point Wendy.

Cheryl St.John said...

Holy smokes! You're right, I've never heard anything that mean before.

lisabea said...

Loved it.

::star::

Liza said...

Must agree this is a pretty harsh review. An apology to the tress that had to die is also pretty funny.

BevBB said...

Well, that doesn't seem all that bad. Short, cutting and definitely nothing positive but, um, yeah, that's pretty bad. Except why is it always an insult to trees and never ink? ;-)

You know, the older I get and the more hormonal I get, not to mention the more tired and downright bored I get with the interminable reviews discussions online, I can see the appeal of reviewing simply as a means of releasing my inner demon that wants to be free. :D

And then sanity returns. Or something like that. ;-)

Wendy said...

It was the "apology to the industry" part that really hit me. I mean - Eeeeek! Now that's harsh!

Lynn Spencer said...

"apology to the industry"? Hmm...that must be some book! Personally, this one always stuck in my mind as quite the harsh review:

http://www.nypress.com/article-11419-flathead.html

I think in part it's because of the colorful language, but also the degree of animosity toward the author rather than the work itself.

BevBB said...

My first thought would be to ask what industry would that be exactly?

See, that's what I mean about that inner demon of mine. Have to keep a close watch on it. ;-)

Wendy said...

I went with the assumption of the publishing industry in general.....

michellewillingham said...

Okay, now you're scaring me... :D

Seriously, though...reviews are one of those funny things. We always know it's subjective, and what one reader may hate, another reader might love.

It's kind of like ice cream. I know that many people love strawberry ice cream, but it's not my thing. Never will be. Nothing against it, but there you are.

I don't think I'd want to be a book reviewer, personally. You do a good job of staying objective though. :D

Anonymous said...

Lynn, ouch! And I thought the Kirkus review was bad. It was at least short and pithy--the one you linked is long and pretty terrifyingly mean.

Did you see AnimeJune's new blog post for today? It seems that all the bloggers I love have a tendency to post on similar/eerily related subjects on the same day.

Wendy said...

Anon: LOL! I know, it wasn't planned I can promise you. The same day I hear about this Kirkus review from a coworker, AnimeJune gets that blog comment from "Miss Manners." It's....eerie.....

Cue X-Files theme song....

Lynn Spencer said...

@Anon - I know! I've read and written plenty of reviews, but I've rarely seen someone lash out personally at an author like this. I think that's why this particular review stuck in my mind. I have a feeling that the apology line from the Cussler review is going to stick there, too.