Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Writers Behaving Badly--Trashing Reviewers

There are good things and bad things about the immediacy of social networking. On the good side, Twitter and Facebook are useful networking tools. Now writers can easily interact with their readers, booksellers, agents, editors, and reviewers. On the bad side---people who don't think before they tweet. If you haven't read about author Alice Hoffman's poorly thought-out response to a mediocre review, check out Galley Cat and Gawker for the play-by-play. Basically, Ms. Hoffman got on Twitter and flipped out. The review wasn't that bad. No, the reviewer wasn't wild about her newest release, but praised her past books and stated this one wasn't up to par with her others. Ms. Hoffman posted the reviewer's phone number on Twitter and asked her fans to call the reviewer and complain. For me, the unprofessionalism involved is the worst. The reviewers do their jobs, we do ours. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I try really hard to remain unaffected and professional with both good and bad reviews. So far I haven't gotten any real stinkers, but I'm sure they're coming. If you have any longevity in this business, you should get both over your career. Right now my policy is to post the good ones on my publicity stuff and put the lukewarm ones out of mind as I write. There's even a blog called The Worst Review Ever: Feel the Pain. Heal the Pain. Now this is a more healthy approach to getting a bad review...with humor. I've enjoyed reading the posts (and readers then rate the review on a scale of bad to horrible.) The idea behind the blog is that they're looking for the most scathing review ever. Not exactly something I want to aspire to, but fun to read. And to all the reviewers out there---thanks for reading. Good or bad, these reviews translate into publicity. And writers can't afford to drum up our own.