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Member's Chat > What NOT to do as an author

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message 2: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 665 comments I hope to god she doesn't publish under her real name. Otherwise people she knows are snickering at her right now, quite possibly coworkers.


message 3: by Samantha (new)

Samantha | 69 comments Yeah I saw this yesterday too. I feel bad for her, the dogpiling got pretty nasty.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments My husband just emailed me a copy of this link. Talk about going viral! LOL


message 5: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 665 comments See I don't feel bad for her. She lost her cool and started cussing at people and accusing people of being doppels. She came off as mature as a high school student who's never been told she's not a precious snowflake.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Yeah. The "my writing is perfect" defense when her comments are riddled with errors was pretty precious.


message 7: by Samantha (new)

Samantha | 69 comments Sure, but the criticisms of her behavior were all well covered by the first 100 comments or so. The 200+ comments after that weren't really necessary, or so I felt. One person cited the example of the co-worker who blew up in her face, then it turned out his father had just died or something like that.. you don't know what's going on in the lives of people who seemingly act irrationally.

I'm not defending her statements, mind you. She was obviously WRONG.


message 8: by colleen the convivial curmudgeon (last edited Mar 29, 2011 09:04AM) (new)

colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Samantha - I do agree a little. I stopped reading the comments after awhile, because they were sort of beating a dead horse, and she's already been well and thoroughly trashed.

I'm glad the link was shared, though, because while I won't be adding to the comments on the blog, I did get a chuckle out of it. (Except I was a little disappointed 'cause I'd originally thought the thread would be a place to put things that goodreads' authors sometimes did that bugged us. Teehee.)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

No reason why the thread can't become that, Colleen.


message 10: by colleen the convivial curmudgeon (last edited Mar 29, 2011 11:28AM) (new)

colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Sherri - That was awesome! (Though I admit I started skimming about half-way through, and about 3/4 of the way I stopped reading entirely. My, but her retort is as over-wordy as her books.)

In general, I think it's just a bad idea for authors to respond to negative criticism, because it never seems to end well for them. The same is true for publishers, such as when Jeff VanderMeer felt the need to correct some negative reviews in these amazon reviews for the New Weird anthology. I was debating about getting the anthology but since I was less than impressed with the VanderMeer's first Steampunk collection, and was totally put off by his commenting on these reviews, I decided to take a pass.

(They now have a second Steampunk collection with some authors I quite like, but I'll just have to hope some of those short stories see the light of day via other formats at some point.)

Sometimes it doesn't even have to be in direct relation to a review or critique. I get that authors are often proud of their works, but when ever any author goes on, like Anne Rice, about how brilliant they are and how someone who doesn't like their book just doesn't get it - well, it's never a good idea to insult your potential audience, is it?


Ala - Well then, I'll start that ball rolling.

Aside from "Don't defend yourself on bad reviews - especially not as a diatribe", I'll add

* Authors whose intros to a group consists of nothing except the fact that they are authors and what their books are. Be involved in the group. Be a person first, reader second, and writer third.

* Authors who use discussions to constantly pimp their own books. I.E. In a recommendation thread for strong female protagonists, for instance, don't just plug your own book. (If you must plug your book along with others, then I suppose it can't be helped - but, again, it's generally a good idea to be seen to participate in more than just book-plugging endeavors.)

* Don't friend people with the purpose of spamming your book. That never goes over well.

I think those three can pretty much be summed up as "don't be annoying".

I'm sure there are many more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Sherri wrote: "Merciful heavens, there's a name for it

To "Rice Out"

From the Encyclopedia Dramatica..."


Encyclopaedia Dramatica is such a time consuming blackhole of snark and spite...I love that place.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I got a couple more for the "don't defend yourself" category:

*Don't let your friends/relatives defend you on bad reviews. It will still reflect poorly on you.

*Don't make up a fake name to try and hide yourself while defending yourself on a bad review. They'll still know it's you.

*Don't hold up glowing reviews by your friends/relatives as examples of people who like your book. They usually have a vested interest in you, so their opinion isn't going to mean a damn thing.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments *Don't make up a fake name to try and hide yourself while defending yourself on a bad review. They'll still know it's you.

Yes - no one likes sockpuppets!

I'll add a corollary to the reviews of friends/relatives - you don't want all stellar 5-star reviews, especially the overly-glowing, unrealstic ones. If you're going to have fake reviews, at least mix it up a bit. ;)

And I'll add one on which I know opinions are divided:

* Don't rate and review you own books. Even if you do a cheeky "Well, of course I rated it 5-stars, I'm the author!" comment, it's still tacky.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

If I ever wrote a book, I'd rate it one star just to be tackycheeky chic.


message 15: by Samantha (new)

Samantha | 69 comments Colleen ~blackrose~ wrote: "*And I'll add one on which I know opinions are divided:

* Don't rate and review you own books. Even if you do a cheeky "Well, of course I rated it 5-stars, I'm the author!" comment, it's still tacky. "


How can opinions on that possibly be divided? :p

Seems pretty clear cut to me. A review from the author is meaningless - its not a review its a puff piece. You want to write glowing things about your book, do it on your own website or on your promotional materials, not in a space slotted for actual reviews.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Ala wrote: "If I ever wrote a book, I'd rate it one star just to be tackycheeky chic."

I've seen some people say "I wouldn't read anything from an author who would give themselves less than 5-stars" and I sat there thinking "Well, you'd certainly never read anything by me then."

(No, I'm not plugging a book... LOL)

But - I was always of the "artists are their own worse critics" school of thought. And I'm sure that there are authors who are critical of their own work - but, mostly, I see massive egos.

I don't know how much of that is show, because people have confidence in people who are confident in themselves or whatever... but I'd actually appreciate an author rating/review that was a bit self-depricative.

1-star might be pushing it, though.


Samantha - Some people think it's cute. *makes face*


message 17: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph | 1824 comments Oh man, I laughed till I cried. I hope that ends up on DA.


message 18: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 588 comments you know-I kinda feel bad-one high school type temper tantrum and like a thousand people log on to amazon to blast her little book---lolol


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

It's a life lesson: Don't piss off the internet.


message 20: by Samantha (new)

Samantha | 69 comments Comedy from the amazon reviews section..

(warning: some minor political trolling contained therein)
http://www.amazon.com/review/RPWM4465...


message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 29, 2011 12:33PM) (new)

"Greek Seaman 2: Rise of the Silver Seaman"

AHAHhahahaha

man, watching these train wrecks is hilarious as hell sometimes.

Reminds me of the fun had during the Cooks Source debacle.


message 22: by Hirondelle (new)

Hirondelle This is everywhere today - well everywhere in the www where there are people interested in books.

To me the worst was not even her petulant and just weird reaction. It was the misspellings, bad grammar, lack of understanding of punctuation and general incoherence in her own comments of which she seemed unaware and claiming her writing was just "fine" or it was because it was english spelling (b, please). How can anybody write as badly as she writes those comments and think their writing ability is fine?


message 23: by Jackie (last edited Mar 29, 2011 12:34PM) (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) My pet peeves:

*Signatures in every post. We know who you are by the handy information bar above your avi. You don't have to cut and paste your information into every bloody post.

*Authors who are not tech savvy enough to know when they put their contact information on an outside source and proceed to get pissed at anyone who tries to help them in the Feedback group. Case in point: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5...

Along the same lines are authors who are not tech savvy enough to know how to advertise their book. Case in point: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3... (message 439).


message 24: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments How about authors that nominate their own books for group reads, with the preface "may I be so bold as to..."? Never ceases to annoy me. No you may not be so bold! :P


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Jackie wrote: "*Authors who are not tech savvy enough to know when they put their contact information on an outside source and proceed to get pissed at anyone who tries to help them in the Feedback group. Case in point: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5193..."

1) She got pissed off that people were friending her and blamed it on GR, stating she doesn't have any other websites she uses, only to find out she did leave a friend link out there somewhere? What the hell.

2) I didn't know you could even do that with the friend link...


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Dawn wrote: "How about authors that nominate their own books for group reads, with the preface "may I be so bold as to..."? Never ceases to annoy me. No you may not be so bold! :P"

LOL


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

What you did there, I see it.


message 28: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) Ala, I didn't know about the friend link either so it was an informative thread. I love Sheila's response to her and how K.I. never came back to the thread to respond when it was such an urgent issue before.

Colleen, you clever girl you. ;)


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Jackie wrote: "Ala, I didn't know about the friend link either so it was an informative thread. I love Sheila's response to her and how K.I. never came back to the thread to respond when it was such an urgent iss..."

Yeah - I love how she totally disappeared about Sheila's post. ♥ for Sheila.


(And since's it's tacky to smirk at your own joke, I'll refrain from commenting about that other thing.) ;)


message 30: by Snail in Danger (Sid) (last edited Mar 29, 2011 01:28PM) (new)

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments Yeah - there's at least one author out there who posted a snitty and patronizing reply to something a buddy of mine wrote about his career choices (which was admittedly on the snarky side). Now I can't see his books without thinking "Oh, it's that guy who doesn't know how to not look like a jerk on the Internet." (Despite the fact that this was over three years ago, when the guy was not terribly well known, and that now he's very popular, best-selling, etc.)

I've taken a look at the guy's books and not been impressed. To be fair, the guy writes in a subgenre I'm a bit jaded about, so that is probably part of my reaction.

I guess what I take away from this is that even if you don't make yourself an Internet-wide laughingstock, responding publicly to bad reviews will almost certainly make you look bad. (Unless you're calmly correcting an objective factual error - but even that may be a bad idea.)


message 31: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) Ooo, I have another one- has to do with marketing...

*Don't market your book by saying you have cancer or other such disease and you need to sell your book to raise funds.

Not sure if anyone saw this author posting the same message around GR a couple of months ago, but she was banned from several groups and the messages deleted. She ended up getting mad and pulling a "Jacqueline Howett" on people after being told not to spam.


message 32: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph | 1824 comments Ala wrote: 1) She got pissed off that people were friending her and blamed it on GR, stating she doesn't have any other websites she uses, only to find out she did leave a friend link out there somewhere? What the hell.

2) I didn't know you could even do that with the friend link... "


Yeah, that was rather informative... *lol* Why do they not check these things?


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments *laughs* Yeah, Jackie - I remember her. Eesh.


message 34: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Jr. | 51 comments As an author, I thought I'd bring up another issue, one which does come up more often than any of us like. What should an author do when either a reader or a reviewer posts something which is factually and flagrantly incorrect, and then uses that to trash a book? I'm not talking about matters of opinion, or style, or plotting. Such erroneous statements involving my books have happened to me perhaps four or five times over the past twenty years. In some cases, I let it pass, but in one case I did reply to it directly on my website,not with passion or invective, but by pointing out the mistakes the reviewer made and why they were mistakes. There were no blog wars, although the reviewer re-stated what he meant, and I let that stand [even though it was still not exactly correct].

One publisher has stated that any publicity is good, no matter how bad, but I don't think I buy that. As an author, I also worry that factual distortions or misstatements can take on a life of their own, yet as your comments here show, readers also don't like authors who are too "touchy" or ultra-sensitive.

Any thoughts?

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.


message 35: by Julie (new)

Julie S. In a way, I feel for those self-published authors since it has to be tough getting the word out. However, some of them get rather annoying when they suggest that we read their book for the monthly read. (I don't know if that's really an issue in this group, but I've seen it in other groups). I don't think that most people want to purchase a book from an author they know little about. I sure don't, even for a group monthly book choice.


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

In all honesty, I'd just leave it be and hope a fan or someone else corrects the reviewer.

By wading in, even if done as professionally as possible, you could still stir the hornets nest and end up with all kinds of unwanted and unwarranted drama.


message 37: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Jr. | 51 comments So... sales should top accuracy? And what if the negative comments impact sales?


message 38: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 29, 2011 03:37PM) (new)

Let's say you have two reviews, one by Mr. NewYorkTimes and one by JoeBeezy96, and both contain a factual error.

Contacting Mr. NewYorkTimes and correcting the error would be fine, as he is a professional who cares about accuracy.

Contacting JoeBeezy96 could lead to him trolling you for the lulz and painting you as another author having a "Rice Out".

If it's a review by a professional organization/blog, then a correction through official contacts would be ok.

If it's just some twit posting his idiotic and nonfactual reviews here and there and on his own blog with a total of 4 readers(one of which is his mom), then it's best to just say screw it.

eta: that's just my take, and I usually have no idea what i'm talking about anyway.


message 39: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (Newtomato) | 123 comments Even if it's in the best spirit, L.E., wouldn't even a kind, professional correction also scare off readers? Someone might be afraid the author would "correct" them as well.

I'm thinking there are good and bad readers just like there are good and bad authors. Not drawing attention to a small-time review is probably the best policy. On the other hand, a factual error at the NYT or Tor or someplace probably does merit a response.

I'm having a hard time imagining a factual error in a review that would be enough to scare off readers. So much of a review is a personal response to a book - which is a work of art. And so much of reading is personal interpretation. At least that's what I personally find so enjoyable about art.


message 40: by Hirondelle (new)

Hirondelle L.E, do not comment unless it is very lightly and having to do with very specific things.

If you decide to comment factual "corrections", just do not go out like you have "THA TRUTH and all that truth".

Even if it´s about your characters and story, readers can interpret things differently. Like somebody said the reader can only read what he has read, not what the author has written (and this is not necessarily sad). If it´s about facts, physical world or history or whatever, please do some research before beeing sure the criticism is wrong - I had an author do that to me, it was creepy and she wrong, very wrong, and very easy to double check it with 5 minutes on google.

There are exceptions where it would feel non-creepy like somebody says that a book is the final on a series and you can correct it graciously. Otherwise, without examples, hard to know.

And keep in mind that while incorrect factual statements might loose book sales (might not. I am really dubious), there is no guarantee your complaint will lead to any change on the review, and you might still lose book sales - of the reviewer, his/her freiends or any people who follow him/her if they think the author was not behaving too well.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 1970 comments Ala wrote: "In all honesty, I'd just leave it be and hope a fan or someone else corrects the reviewer.

By wading in, even if done as professionally as possible, you could still stir the hornets nest and end u..."


I mostly agree with Ala.

I think you could try for a polite, professional sort of correction, and I wouldn't say it's wrong for someone to do so - but I do think it could possibly blow up into a drama.


message 42: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (Newtomato) | 123 comments I put it in quotation marks because although it might only be a correction of fact, a lot of readers might take it personally as a "correction" - i.e. a criticism. Egos run large and tempers run thin on the internet.

I'm totally with you - if an author wants to correct me on a fact, feel free. I won't take it personally. (Actually, any comment by an author on my reviews would be thrilling.) But I don't think you or I are the average readers. After all, we're having a thoughtful, reasonable discourse already.


message 43: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Jr. | 51 comments "Egos run large and tempers run thin on the internet."

Extremely well stated. I'd almost say that this ought to be posted in bold at the top of every "forum" on the internet, but if it were, it wouldn't change a thing, because everyone would think it applied to everyone else.

And, yes, I do appreciate this very reasonable discussion.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

If it's too civilized in here, I'd be more than happy to commence trolling. :P


message 45: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (Newtomato) | 123 comments L.E. wrote: "I'd almost say that this ought to be posted in bold at the top of every "forum" on the internet, but if it were, it wouldn't change a thing, because everyone would think it applied to everyone else."

Hahaha, too true!

I had half thought about making a fake account for some long-dead but beloved author to troll reviews. Bonus points for trolling by replicating the author's vernacular, and making up weird back stories for things they wrote. I don't know any single author's works well enough, though.


message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 29, 2011 04:18PM) (new)

Cindy wrote: "I had half thought about making a fake account for some long-dead but beloved author to troll reviews. Bonus points for trolling by replicating the author's vernacular, and making up weird back stories for things they wrote. I don't know any single author's works well enough, though. "

That sounds like it could be all kinds of fun.

You should create one for Homer then go through and complain on everyones reviews of The Odyssey and the Iliad in greek.


message 47: by Hirondelle (new)

Hirondelle Just saying, Mark Twain and maybe Hemingway might be easy to do - or at least, most people will have an idea of how they would post which might not necessarily require familiarity with their work!

or Wodehouse *sigh* Mind you, he did it himself first and best.

"A certain critic -- for such men, I regret to say, do exist -- made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained 'all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.' He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy."


message 48: by Cindy (last edited Mar 29, 2011 04:23PM) (new)

Cindy (Newtomato) | 123 comments Homer would be brilliant! I suppose I could just use Google translate: "Αυτό ηλίθιος ακριβώς δεν καταλαβαίνω ελληνικά."

Edit: And don't forget the infamous: Γαμήσου!


message 49: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 665 comments L.E.

I think to start, the first thing an author should do when contacting the reviewer is a. keep it private if possible (send an email instead of in the comments section) b. the first thing written should be a big thank you for the person taking the time to read your work and write about it, and c. point out parts of their review that you really like, thought were deep/unusual, etc. Flattery is always a good beginning to any relationship. :)

If it just starts off as "hey you, my character was from Paris, Texas not Paris, France" the reviewer is going to read your most factual and bland post as packed with snark and judgment.


message 50: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Pilgrim (oldgeezer) | 26 comments Hi,
I've been following this thread with great interest,taking on board the comments about posting in the correct/or wrong threads, I'd just like to chip in a couple of observations.
First, I write action thrillers, and at my 'publishers' behest a 'grow your own' gardening guide aimed at saving money. So I shouldn't really be here.
I agree 100% on the importance of editing and proof reading. my first book, about eight years ago was ruined by lack of both, I am currently rewriting it as the story justifies the effort.
On responding to bad reviews, my first effort had several, all based on the typos and errors which escaped me at the the time, all complaints fair and totally justified and taken on board, that is how we learn.
I have recently had my first bad review [on amazon] on my gardening book. This hurt, and as I have never bought anything of amazon it is difficult to reply to. I checked on other reviews posted by the same individual and it is clear from other comments, she/he is incapable of reading ordinary English. So I consoled my self with the thought, well there's always one, it has however stopped the steady sales in it's tracks on amazon. Now while I say a big thank you to those who posted constructive reviews on my early efforts in particular, this individual ought to crawl back under his/her stone and learn to understand what they read!
And finally [thank heavens I hear the cry] In defence of 'Indie' authors, many of the best books available at the moment are 'indies' some author friends of mine are Fantasy or Sci-Fi writers, Terry Pratchett and J.K Rowling apart the best of the 'indies kick the rest of the over hyped stuff out there into the weeds! There is of course a vast amount of unedited stuff out there, the problem is finding a practical way to bring the best to the attention of the book buying public, and this applies to all genres. So I appeal to all new and wanna be authors, get it right!! I've done my share of adding to the pile with my first efforts. The help is there now, it wasn't when I started, but that is no excuse. Like I, and many others, notably Sherrie have said use this help and get it right.
All the best Paul Rix [oldgeezer]


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