John Mc: That last line is what convinces ME to finally buy the book.
I'm telling you guys, 95% of the time, it does not matter what they say. Just so they spell your name right.
You have to take the criticism with a smile. Let'm drink Drano
No more platitudes this month, I swear.
Jon, your thread the other day did raise some interesting issues. We live in a unique time for writers where the internet allows amateur reviewers and readers a platform to voice their opinions to the world, while past writers would only see in print reviews from professional critics. Given this new paradigm, when is it okay for the writer to get involved? Personally, as long as the review comes across as sincere, I'm grateful to any reader who takes the time to read my book and express his or her opinion on it, even if they hated it with a passion, but unlike Ms. Moore, it's hard to feel grateful if the review comes across as snarky or that the reviewer had some other agenda in mind other that writing an honest review. I'd have to think most writers in these cases at least daydream for a few seconds about writing the type of response that you did yesterday (or at least taking a flame thrower to a character based on the reviewer in our next book). So I think all this does raise the question, given today's changing world, when is it okay for the author to join the discussion??
I don't believe I said that you have to feel 'grateful' for a snarky review. If it's a sincere review then I totally agree with you. I just don't happen to believe that the one Jon received was as bad as he's making it out to be. It clearly had the positive points along with the negatives. Personally, when I get a negative review, I'm disappointed that the person disliked it, but glad they gave it the time. As I said in the previous thread, we don't all like the same books. I find it interesting to know what people find good and bad about a book. If someone says they don't like a book because it is too dark or too funny, that will send me rushing out to buy it. If they enthuse about a book because of its quilting patterns and talking iguana, then it's definitely not going to be a book for me...well, maybe the talking iguana...And I don't think there's a right or wrong time for the author to join the discussion, it's just the manner of his or her joining that matters.
Donna, I agree with you about the review Jon received. It read to me as if the reviewer was being sincere and that her intent was to write an honest, but also entertaining review. And like you, if I see a sincere negative review for one of my books, I'm mostly disappointed, feeling that I let the reader down, but try to take the attitude that I can't please everyone, especially not with dark fiction. But what about the case where the reviewer's intent is clearly to be snarky or worse? How about the case where it's clear the reviewer didn't read the book but wrote the review from the back cover copy? Should the author sit on the sidelines and keep silent? Anyway, I think it's going to be interesting to see how all this evolves, and Jon is clearly not the only author to respond online to a review that annoyed him---more and more you're seeing author's petulantly responding to what they feel are unfair reviews--and some very big names in this mix.