Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning interesting lessons...

GoodReads doesn't like authors to comment on reviews of their books, even to thank the reviewer or get more information. Also, you are supposed to accept it when someone uses derogatory and foul language against you. Here's what happened.

Some guy posted a vicious comment about HTRASG and gave it one star. Called it all sorts of things. I asked him what it was, exactly, that set him off -- my style of writing, the characters, the actions, the ending? -- and he went into meltdown. I haven't had language like that used against me since 8th grade.

I asked the administrators at GoodReads to look into it as a violation of their guidelines, but they decided that I was overreacting and it was my own damn fault for asking the question in the first place.

Maybe it was. All I wanted was honest feedback. I accepted the initial spitting on the book; I've been told worse things about my writing. But to me the whole point of getting reviews is to get feedback and see how you can improve your work. Apparently that's not acceptable.

So what the hell IS the point of this exercise? Even when I was posting my scripts on TriggerStreet and getting assassination reviews meant solely to tear them apart (always in reaction to positive reviews from others), I got something out of those because the twerps writing them went into detail as to why they didn't like it. Granted, 90% was just a case of, "You didn't write it the way I would have." But there was still that 10% that made sense and was helpful.

Now I'm not above being human. Negative reviews sometimes hurt, but that's part of the deal. It's just not possible to please 100% of the people who read your work, and sometimes they'll dislike it for ludicrous reasons. But I make myself thank everyone to takes the time to review my work, even if it's not a good one. I'm nowhere near the realm of James Joyce or Leonid Tolstoy, yet.

But...if sitting in stony silence and learning nothing from a person's reaction to your work is what GoodReads wants, so be it.

And that, my friends, is life in the big city.

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