This post originally appeared on the Midnight Ink Author's Blog,
but it is worthy of discussion here, so I hope no one minds my cross-posting.
Folks that know me personally know that I’m a pretty laid back, fair-minded woman. It takes a lot to rankle my feathers, yet someone has recently managed to do just that when Kirkus Reviews dubbed THE BLACK WIDOW AGENCY a… “bitch-a-thon.” Stop the presses! This is the same book that Publisher’s Weekly called “a sharp series debut.” This is the same book that left the reviewer from Deadly Pleasures declaring, “The Black Widow Agency needs to be franchised all over the country. I need a second book, NOW.”
As authors, we are all at the mercy of reviewers. Every author takes their lumps once in a while and hopefully the lumps are far and few in between the accolades. I’m a big girl and can handle the fact that not every reviewer is going to love my books. I’m happy to say that for the most part, the reviewers have liked THE BLACK WIDOW AGENCY because it is unique and fun and shows four strong women using technology to even the playing field to bring justice to other women. I even think a lot of men will enjoy it, though I clearly didn’t write it for a male audience.
No, what I find most disturbing about the Kirkus review is that I seemed to have touched a sensitive nerve with the reviewer and they wanted to let me know it, albeit anonymously, since that is Kirkus Review’s policy (another point worthy of discussion). A bitch-a-thon? How about reviewing my writing style, the flow of the book, the pace, the plot? A bitch-a-thon? How about saying you didn’t find the characters realistic or you didn’t care for a twist at the end? Not one word referenced the writing.
When a reviewer, especially a reviewer from a major publication critiques a book, it should stay professional. Attack me professionally. Keep it at that level. Don’t gripe because you can’t handle a story about four strong women who join forces to take on a male-owned business that allows blatant sexual harassment of its female employees.
Four smart female characters of all ages, sizes and backgrounds, some of whom are in relationships with nice guys, turn the tables on some not-so-good guys. Four smart, funny female characters who are mothers, daughters, cyber wizards, ex-cops, chefs, chocolate lovers and hot flash sufferers, choose to help another woman after she loses custody of her daughter. That’s a bitch-a-thon? No, that’s just women helping each other out.
To prove my point that women joining together to help others is not a “bitch-a-thon” but a powerful force to be reckoned with, I’m hereby officially launching the “Bitch-a-Thon” campaign. For every BLACK WIDOW AGENCY book purchased between October 1, 2007 and October 1, 2008, I personally pledge to donate a portion of the profits to my local chapter of Womenade. If you’re not familiar with Womenade, it’s a national non-profit organization with chapters all over the country that provide grass roots assistance to neighbors in crisis or who have reached a stumbling block in their lives, without any red tape. Assistance can go towards things like groceries, automobile repairs, prescriptions and the like. Since this is a cause near and dear to the Black Widows’ big hearts, I hereby challenge everyone out there to spread the news about the “Bitch-A-Thon” campaign and let’s see if we can’t turn some sour lemons into lemonade and help a few folks along the way.
For more information about the “Bitch-A-Thon” campaign, please visit http://www.feliciadonovan.com/
For more information about Womenade, please visit your local chapter’s website or the Greater Squamscott Womenade chapter at http://www.womenadenh.org/
I hope that Kirkus Reviews will see the good this can bring and make a donation as well.