Friday, July 21, 2006

Ranty thoughts...

It's a Friday night, and everyone's asleep, and I'm sitting here nursing my highly iced glass of wine (I have no tolerance these days), and thinking. I usually don't have much to say about the various dustups that arise, mostly because by the time I get to reading, all the fun has past and I have nothing interesting to add. However, this
Highland Fling review crap
has got me a little annoyed. I won't rehash the whole thing, you can visit Sybil or Fiona to read about the whole glorious mess, but after looking at everything, and then reading this at KarenS' site, I am left pondering some burning questions:

A) Is there a difference between a bad review and trashing an author? I sure think so. Sometimes I think a book sucks ass. I'm not going to say otherwise. It doesn't mean I have anything against you, the author, just do better next time. Can authors tell the difference between negative reviews and mindless trashing?

B) What's up with "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all?" Last time I checked, a review was an opinion, a critique. Why does it have to be nice? Doesn't anyone read a newspaper or magazine? Are all the reviews of movies, television programs, art, etc. nice? C'mon, stop smoking crack (to quote Sybil)! Why on earth would a reader have to be nice about something, especially if they wasted their hard earned money on it, and if they back up their opinions with some reasons.

C) What does the author fear so much? Granted, if I were an author I'm sure I would stalk my reviews, and I would encourage my friends and fans to post glowing reviews. But, are they just so insulted by any harsh words, or do they think that potential readers are so flipping stupid that they can't tell the difference between a thoughtful review (be it positive or negative) and a stupid mess (positive or negative)? Perhaps your snarkiest readers are your most intelligent and thoughtful, and they wouldn't make a purchase based on a barely coherent, pointless review. It's this recurring feeling that I have that authors want to censor reviews because they think that potential readers are too dumb to make an informed decision that bugs me.

D) Finally, does anyone pay all that much attention to reviews on Amazon anyway?! Before I discovered blogs, I used to pop over to Amazon after I had read a book, to see what others thought. Between the content-less glowing reviews, the content-less nasty reviews, and the ridiculous Harriet Klausner (who reads sooooo many books she can't even get the summaries right), I would pretty much giggle my butt off. They are entertainment value only, by and large. If anything a mean review is more intriguing than a positive one. And look at crazy Laurell K. Hamilton. Shit-loads of negative reviews, yet she debuts at number one. Well, in her case, I think that she's made a pact with the devil so that people keep buying her books even though they know they're going to siz-zuck. Geezus, I almost checked Danse Macabre out the other day. I walked by, and was like, maybe I should just see for myself. It's the work of the devil, I tell you.

I'm thinking some folks gotta get over themselves, and just be happy people are reading their books. Even if I didn't like it, I still spent $$ on it, didn't I? Or at least the library did. It still goes towards your sales figures, doesn't it?

I hope this makes sense in the morning. I poured another glass of wine while typing.

ETA: This morning, I popped over to Alison Kent. I hadn't gone there before, because I had seen her comments everywhere else, and many people had referenced her, and I figured that I got the gist. But holy moly! I guess that there just is a disconnect between readers and authors. My post was about reviews, not professional behavior, but I was amazed at how authors and readers read the same words differently. The authors kept accusing others of twisting their words, while they twisted others' words. And don't get me started on the whole "just giving professional advice" thing. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Urgh,if I could only find a book that would keep my interest, I wouldn't be spending so much time reading about this. It's more compelling than anything on my TBR seems to be. Gotta get out of my funk.


Valeen said...

I tend to stay far away from these little tiffs. For one, I can never keep up with all the blogs and messages and comments.

And two, it seems to be neverending, there always seems to be another reader/author spackle going on. Wonder what everyone did before there was reader/author blogs?

Holly said...

Meh. That's all I have to say about the whole situation. A big fat MEH! I'm sorry, but dude, GET OVER YOURSELVES! Whether you be bloggers who think a nasty review is funny and the same as a well thought out review, even if it's bad, or an author who reads a review, whether nasty, bad, well thought out or just plain sucky, SHUT UP ALREADY!

I'm over it. LOL

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested