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Snark: You're Doing It Wrong

Seeing You
So I just read this review over on Dear Author for a m/m book and the reviewer gave the book a grade of F. I haven't read the book so maybe the story really is craptastic. But the reason I bring it up at all is because the review itself is snarky and--more unbelievably, at least to me--sarcastic. The few comments on the post seem to indicate that people find it funny. I found the review...distasteful.

Which made me think...what do other people think? Do snarky reviews turn you off? Does sarcasm in a review leave you feeling vaguely wtf? Or do you think it's a great style, makes you laugh? Do you think I'm too serious and need to lighten up?

Maybe it IS just me. But when I read a review, I'm reading for one reason: should I spend my money to buy this book? Reviews are--IMHO--a buying tool. I don't read reviews looking for a laugh. There are much better and far more effective ways to find amusement.

Which is not to say I've never found a review funny (*cough cough* Lbea *cough cough*) but different senses of humor being what they are, I generally don't find snarky reviews amusing. I find them to be an inefffective buying tool.

But again, I'm wondering if I'm in the minority with that. So what are your thoughts on reviews?

ETA: Usually I preface posts like this one with "As a reader..." or with "As a writer..." depending on what I'm talking about. But recently I realized how silly I was being. I am always both. BUT in this case I am talking purely about reviews of works by other authors. 

Comments

( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
lisabea
Jan. 10th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
Couple things. First off...I adore you plain and simple. You're such a good egg.

Secondly...I try not to snark anyone personally. I get a tad..uh..worked up, and I can get a smidge carried away when I do or do not like something. I believe the words "enthusiastic" and "harsh" have been used to describe me in my various incarnations. Which explains why my reviews are so far and few between lately. Or I'm totally back pedaling and flipping out because I don't want anyone to think I'm mean. But. Yes. I have been. On occasion. (omg.) There's a point here, I'm sure.

Last....I'm not surprised. Not surprised in the least, considering the source. I won't go look. I don't go look. Been there, done that, and I only frequent review sites where the reviewers can rec. reads for me. I use those reviews to make my purchasing selections. Kid you not. I go to TPig, Bam, Tumperkin or ShannonC over at Sybil's digs. And Tracy. She's the shiznits.

dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
I love when I see Batman and Robin snoggin, cause I know that means Lbea stopped by. *g*

I definitely don't think your reviews are mean. Snarky perhaps, but it's never felt...personal. I hate to sound so hypocritical and say there are exceptions, but your style is...well, different than what I'm talking about here. And now you're probably wondering wtf I'm on since I probably didn't make any sense with that. But I don't think you're mean. You're definitely a good egg too, Lbea.

Maybe I should have been more clear in my post, or maybe just used the word "sarcasm" instead of "snark." I mean, what exactly is snark anyways? Maybe it's like pron, you know it when you see it. It's hard to articulate, but I think one of the things I didn't include above is intent. Is the intent to ridicule? Or just let readers know to pass? It was the sarcasm in the review I just read that made me go wtf.

As for DA...I haven't completely given up on them yet. I wish Jayne would do more reviews, as my view usually gels with hers when it comes to the value of a story. I was happy when they brought on someone to do mostly m/m, but so far... :(

I've heard of TeddyPig, but not the others...perhaps I'll have to go waltzin around the blogosphere.

Thanks for stopping by!
addisonalbright
Jan. 10th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
The snarky reviews turn me off, and I avoid even going to sites where I've seen that kind of thing. It's just unnecessarily cruel. If it's bad, write an intelligent review saying why it fails, but making fun is just wrong. Somebody worded hard on the story, and that somebody has feelings.
dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
If it's bad, write an intelligent review saying why it fails

Exactly. That's all I'm looking for. I just want to know why it didn't work, anything else just feels...extraneous.

Thanks for commenting, Addison!
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dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Paul!

Until I read your comment, I don't think I consciously realized that that review was angry. Really angry.

And in my case, that felt like a pan in the face. Maybe that's why I found this particular review so unhelpful. Anger just seems off for a reader who--unlike the reviewer--hasn't spent time and energy on the book. It's like total mental disconnect there.

But actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I wish I hadn't specified the review b/c I really wanted general opinions. I usually explain why I'm thinking what I'm thinking, but in this case I should have kept it general because I'm really just wondering in general whether snark or sarcasm works for people when they read reviews or whether they find it a turn off like I do.

Anywho, thanks for commenting and pointing out the anger. It's given me a bit of food for thought. :)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Snarky reviews
Trouble is when you put your work out there to be read - its going to be read by anyone who wants to cough up a few bucks. One hopes that the reader enjoys your work - but we can't please all the people all the time. Everyone has an opinion and of course they are entitled to it. Personally I feel reviewers should give constructive criticism and not resort to mean and nasty jabs - but hey, there are mean and nasty people out there too with opinions. I've only ever had one review that made me want to throw away my pc and never write another word EVER AGAIN! That feeling lasted all of 30 seconds. Other reviews have verged on the snarky but these days I'm able to shrug and say WTF. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy getting cool reviews. So Dear Reviewer, if you feel you could do so much better, then why aren't you writing books instead of mean reviews. Its easy to be critical - much harder to be creative.
dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Snarky reviews
Thanks for the input, Jim! I really appreciate hearing what everyone thinks on this topic. :)
jaye_valentine
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Sometimes things really are bad enough to make fun of to a great degree.

Overall, I think this particular reviewer has been extremely honest and fair. In the few reviews she has done for DA, her grades have run the gamut from an 'A' (Anah Crow's Uneven, 'A-' (K.A. Mitchell's "Collision Course"), 'C-" (Zathyn Priest's "The Curtis Reincarnation"), to this current 'F' grade.

This might be a personal thing of mine, but I like it when a reviewer isn't afraid to express the bad with the good. It forces me, as a writer, to step up my own game, maybe recognize flaws in my own writing.

From a reader perspective, I've never used reviews as a purchasing decision tool. Some of the best movies I've ever seen were totally trashed and/or misunderstood and/or completely misinterpreted by reviewers (case in point: Adrian Lyne's utterly brilliant "Jacob's Ladder").

Honestly, I didn't see anything wrong or over-the-top with this particular review. if anything, I appreciate the analytical, bullet-point format of pointing out its glaring flaws.

I dunno. To each his own. I've certainly read some books lately that were so bad they made my Inner Snarkmoster boldly manifest itself. Perhaps I should start posting my reviews of them. Or maybe not.

That all said, I'm scared fucking shitless of seeing a review of one of books reviewed by Dr. Sarah. Even so, and as hard as it may be for me to read and swallow, I know I'll become an even better writer because of it.
dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting, Jaye!

As I said above to Paul, I should have kept this general and not mentioned the specific review as I really was wondering from a general standpoint. The sarcasm in Dr. Sarah's review was what got me thinking, initially, but I didn't want that to be the focus. My bad. (Slightly off topic: I have read the review of KA Mitchell's Collision Course, and I thought the review was really helpful. To be perfectly honest, had I not known before I read the reviews that both were written by the same person, I'd be shocked. And that's definitely not because one is positive and one is negative.)

But thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially find it interesting to hear you don't use reviews for purchasing decisions, and I'd be curious to know if that's true for a lot of people.


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jl_langley
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
I don't think you are silly. I'm about to do the same thing actually ;0). Yes we are both, but sometimes the distinction helps get a point across.

And yes I adore Lisabea too ;0)

As a writer I cringe at the snark. I equate reviews like that to walking up to a total stranger on the street and telling them they are ugly and have no fashion sense. I've been very lucky and not had too many of them , but I know what it's like and my heart always goes out to the author. It's hard to see someone trash something you worked so hard on. But sadly that's part of life. Even if I don't like it, I know some people do enjoy that kind of thing.

As a reader, it annoys me and doesn't help me. I need a reviewer to be specific and tell me why they liked or disliked a piece. A good review, and I don't mean favorable, informs perspective buyers. I've read very negative reviews of books and considered them a "good review". If, as a reader, I can pick out what is fact and what is the reviewers opinion, I can then decide if I share the reviewers views and decide if I will like the book based on that. I have read negative reviews and immediately realized I would like the book for the very reasons the reviewer didn't and vise versa.
dakotaflint
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, JL! I think you've summed up my feelings very nicely on the subject. :)

I have read negative reviews and immediately realized I would like the book for the very reasons the reviewer didn't and vise versa.

Yes! Exactly! That's why I view them as such a useful buying tool. It's easy to pick apart a well written review and decide what I'd most likely agree with, what wouldn't bother me, etc. It's not just what's in the review, as much as it is what I can do (=think) with the review.

My brain, tis not just a hat rack, my friend. Well, most days anyway. *g*
zamaxfield
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
I have to say there are reviewers who are better than the books they review. That they choose to write reviews instead of books is kinda sad, but we all have our thing. I think an honest appraisal of a book in whatever style a reviewer normally reviews in can't be considered snark, and I think there are reviewers who are snarky to everyone equally, and I don't think as writers we should take that too personally.

I'm glad I don't have to walk down a red carpet at the Oscars, because there are people who are making whole careers just making fun of the people who do.

On the other hand, I wish people would remember there are human beings in the equation and it might pay to remember the golden rule. Just because I wrote a book for people to buy and read doesn't mean it's not equally effective just to put a note on a blog in big bold letters that you didn't like it and don't recommend it.

Not that I don't laugh at snark. Big time. I like snark, as long as it's not aimed at me. And therein lies the problem. If you're in the water, you're part of the food chain.

I sometimes wish I'd thought of that before taking pen in hand.
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
I think an honest appraisal of a book in whatever style a reviewer normally reviews in can't be considered snark

Wow, ZAM. I think you just hit on something really important in this statement. Maybe it's all about consistency. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts--good food for thought.

Also, I think I made a mistake when writing this post. I wish I hadn't actually mentioned the specific review. I wanted it to be about more than just that, ya know. Ah well. Mea Culpa.

B/c I just wondered what you all, as readers, think of mean/snark/sarcasm in reviews. Does it mitigate, improve, or have no bearing on the effectiveness of the review as a buying tool. Although, maybe I should have asked first whether you all use reviews as buying tools.

B/c I do, unless someone is on my auto-buy list, so to me personally the only thing that's helpful is a concise summation of why a work did or didn't work. Anger just doesn't work for me. I prefer dispassionate when it comes to reviews. Recs are a different story, b/c I don't think they're the same thing. (But maybe I'm wrong?)

And all of this is what I think as a reader trying to make a buying decision.

As a writer, I think it's like a whole other discussion.

Edited at 2009-01-11 12:08 am (UTC)
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jgraeme2007
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
There's a balance. I have to admit to being very fond of some of those reviews in the New Yorker. Funny as hell -- but they're also impersonal. I never get a sense that anyone at the New Yorker has a personal grudge match with a director or author.

But a lot of those New Yorker reviews...if you were on the receiving end, they would sting. Partly they would sting because those folks at the New Yorker really know of what they speak. Although, yes, even those reviews are subjective up to a point.

I think we are an increasingly uncivilized society, and our technology makes it easier for us to hurt others and feel nothing.

I didn't read the review, by the way -- just my general thoughts.
lisabea
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
I think we are an increasingly uncivilized society, and our technology makes it easier for us to hurt others and feel nothing.



This makes me sad, J. I blogged on this recently.
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jaye_valentine
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
So Dear Reviewer, if you feel you could do so much better, then why aren't you writing books instead of mean reviews. Its easy to be critical - much harder to be creative.

The reviewer never stated they were capable of better writing. You don't have to be a writer to appreciate good—or bad—writing. Nor do you have to be a writer in order to have an opinion.

And you need an apostrophe in that 'its' in your last sentence, by the way.
zoenichols
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
I won't lie. I laughed. But I have to admit that I also looked closely at what was wrong with that particular story. But I can also see where one would consider it snarky.

I have to agree with Sir Lanyon right here. With the internet, we've become progressively uninhibited in our opinions and the way those opinions come off, particularly without the facial expressions to accomodate them, can come off as, well, rude.

As a reader, I don't always let a review influence me unless the story is by a particular author I favorite. Like, there was someone on Lit Nymphs who gave one of James' stories a bad review. If I hadn't already bought the story, I would have bought it just to see what madness that particular reviewer was spouting. James does not write bad. Same for Sir Lanyon, you and many, many others.

To close up this winding comment, I, as a reviewer, try my best to be fair and concise. As a reader, I'm amused by reviews in general and will judge a book on its own merit above someone else's opinion. As a writer, I'm learning to just shrug. Win some, lose some, ya know?
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
With the internet, we've become progressively uninhibited in our opinions and the way those opinions come off, particularly without the facial expressions to accomodate them, can come off as, well, rude.

Very true. We lose things on the internet such as body language, tone, inflection, etc.

But then, sarcasm is pretty hard to miss. And anger.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Zoe! I think hearing about to what extent people use reviews for purchasing--or not--is really interesting. So I appreciate the input.

And reviews from a writer's standpoint? That's a discussion for another day. ;)

(And I said this in my comments above, so I think I'll repeat: I probably shouldn't have mentioned the specific review, b/c in my mind it wasn't really about this one review as it was about snarky/mean/sarcastic reviews in general--of which I've read my fair share. Mea culpa.)
treva2007
Jan. 11th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
Back in the dark ages I reviewed for a review that was known to give bad reviews as much as good. I learned a lot from reading and explaining why I did or didn't like the book. And I'm sure there were a few times I stung. Part of what reviewers do is entertain and so you sometimes say things to make a sharp point.

The hardest books I had to review were the meh books. Not good but not bad either. When you give a very good or very bad review, the author connected somehow.

BTW, I gave up reviewing when I started writing. I realized I was starting to do critiques of how the book could be made better instead of reporting on it as it was.
treva2007
Jan. 11th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Damn. There were a lot of reviews in that sentence.
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reno_macleod
Jan. 11th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
I'll be perfectly honest. Before I started writing for money? I never read a single review for a book. And ask Jaye, I have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books. I've been an avid reader for almost thirty years. I've only been writing for three.

What makes me buy a book? Topic first. Cover Art (Oh yes, this is a big one for hooking me). And then I sit in a corner of the bookstore and read a chapter. If it is online, I read the excerpt. Those excerpts ought to be flawless, btw. If I see edit issues in the excerpt, I won't buy it.
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Cool, thanks for the input, Reno! Very interesting to hear what influences your purchasing decision.

I have to admit, I don't think I've ever let cover art influence my purchase, which is not to say it's not a valid influence. I've heard a lot of people say that cover art is huge for them, and I always feel like I should be more discerning when it comes to cover art. Unless it either creeps me out or it's fantastic, I don't usually pay attention.

I don't buy based solely on reviews, but if it's an author I'm unfamiliar with then I do utilize reviews as a buying tool.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. :)
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emmyjag
Jan. 11th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
The review was funny. Would it have been as funny to me if it were my book? Well, no.

When is snark ok? When you're writing a review of a book that you liked in the end? So it's only horrid and angry and ghastly if the person is snarking a 'bad' book?

I think as long as a review specifically speaks to the book and not the author personally, write what you want. Reviews, after all, are subjective opinions of a story, not fact. If someone reads a book they don't like, why shouldn't they be able to say so, same as if they read the best book EVAH.
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emmy!

I guess a lot of it rests on individual sense of humor.

Or maybe the cold has frozen and snapped my funny bone. *g*
kitzheng
Jan. 11th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
-Do snarky reviews turn you off?

It really depends on how the reviewer handles it--and if I feel the reviewer is attacking the *writer as a person* and *not* the book or the writer as professional author.

If the reviewer think the book sucks, it's his/her right to tell us so. It might actually make it a little less tense if s/he's humorous about it. There are some really fantastic send-ups of bad books which actually tell you a lot about the book and might even make you wish to read it. At least you come away warned about what didn't work for the reviewer.

-Does sarcasm in a review leave you feeling vaguely wtf? Or do you think it's a great style, makes you laugh?

In most cases, I appreciate a little sarcasm. If it's about to burn through the floor due to acid content, though, or if, again, I feel the sarcasm is disguising a personal attack on the writer as a person, then it can throw me off and make me want to ignore the reviewer.

-Do you think I'm too serious and need to lighten up?

Nah, we all have our hot buttons. To me, even a negative, nasty review can be helpful to me as a reader (and as a writer I suppose, but it'd probably make me really sad) if it takes the time to thoughtfully point out what was so seriously wrong about a book, which I actually thought the DA review did quite well.
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kit, for a really thoughtful reply.

I appreciate hearing everyone's opinion, seeing where I fall on the spectrum of reactions.

And having read all the comments and really thought about what people have said, it has allowed this issue--and what I find objectionable and what I don't--to crystallize in my mind. Very helpful.

So thanks again. :)
clarelondon
Jan. 11th, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
Wow, it's all been said, I should have got up earlier *lmao*.

For me, it comes down to why the review was written.
For the reader - or for the reviewer to show off?
About the book - or the reviewer themself?

And then I have to say, it's about how we read it - as an aid to buying (not necessarily for me, I must say) or as something fascinating in itself? Whether that's for entertainment or in a 'train wreck' kind of way...

On a personal level, I never see any point in being either rude or cruel. Your humble opinion is yours - maybe I want to read it or not - maybe I like your journalistic style or not.
But like someone else said, humans are involved and IMHO I've always found it better to go for civility rather than the cheap shot.

And no, I haven't read the review either, so this isn't personally directed at anything ^_^.

Great post and discussion!
Dakota, if you want to come pimp anything else at all, come over to my blog for January, you're very welcome. Whether I have any more Friends to reach out to than you, is another matter...*hehe*
dakotaflint
Jan. 11th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, Clare. I think you pretty much summed up all the nuances from the comments above. If you're looking for a career change, I think I'd recommend diplomacy. ;)

Thanks for a very thoughtful reply! I hope I don't sound insincere when I repeat this to everyone, but I really do appreciate hearing what everyone says, truly. It's helped clear some things up in my own mind and given me much to think about. I love discussions like these, when not everyone agrees and I come away thinking. (Let's me know this thing on my shoulders is good for something *g*)

I'd love to come over to your blog, Clare. I don't have anything specific in mind atm, but I love blathering on about writing, reading, etc. Do you have rules, general themes, suggested guidelines, etc?


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erastes
Jan. 11th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
I desubbed from DA a while back - not that they'll care - because of the tone of the site becoming more and more ... well, like this. Whereas I'd go to Smart Bitches for the Snark, if I felt like reading snark, I went to DA because I enjoyed their balanced reviews. even a D grade wasn't always necessarily a hatchet job, but an explanation of why the book didn't work - for them. It depresses me that they are losing that impartiality and are going for the "laughs" rather than the quality of the reviews.

I went and looked at the review after reading this post, and can only echo what some have said, that it seems to me that it seems like the reviewer is angry, and that is not a professional way to review in the first place - and that (especially in the "fun" way it's laid out - who bullet points a review?) it's simply the reviewer showing how funny they think they are.

As I say, it seems to be the way the site is going in recent days, their posts are unmoderated and they let people say the most vile things about other people without redress - and their livechats? Well, I'd better not comment.

It's not a review at all, but I hardly need to point that out. I've had to review books that I found pretty dire - have trundled out the "1 out of 5" mark once or twice, but even though I have, I've done so in a way that - I hope - wouldn't make anyone give up writing. There's something good to be found in any book, after all. A reviewer should realise that they are just that, nothing more than a "notice board" to share a book. They ain't rock stars no matter no many hits their site gets.
dakotaflint
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
I hadn't completely given up on DA, though I never read the comments. I appreciated Jia's and Jayne's m/m reviews. I liked the reviewing style. As you said, the reviews were always very balanced even if they gave the book a low grade.

I believe it's absolutely possible to write a negative review without ridicule or burning sarcasm. As a reader, I don't like reading those reviews. I don't think they are useful.

As a writer, well...I think a reviewer should be honest and make their points, and they should do that without being rude/cruel/nasty/etc.

I didn't know DA did a livechat. I can only imagine...*shudder*

Thanks for weighing in, Erastes! I really appreciate the thoughtful reply. :)

Edited at 2009-01-13 02:14 am (UTC)
louisev
Jan. 13th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
hi there
I found the review by browsing DA for weekend entries and I know the author well, and provided some background on her roots in fandom and her other work, which I have found not of the kind of quality that I have ever been interested in reading. So I was not a disinterested reader. If I were the author I think I would have shaved my head and gone into a monastery. Or at least gotten some more editorial help. That having been said, when I intensely dislike a book, I try to wiggle out of reviewing it. If I can't find anything redeeming about the work and can't recommend that anyone go through what I just went through, I can't really in good conscience post an epic fail review.

I do think there is value in saying "This is a good negative example - this is exactly what you should not do", but I also think if the big guns are coming out, the review needs to bring out specific and comprehensive critique a la the college English teacher marking up a paper. I think the review in question could have benefitted from actual quotes illustrating the bullet points, and that might have mitigated the tone of the review. But something tells me that the reviewer didn't really want to dive back into the book and do that much work. Honestly, having read the first chapter which was on the author's site, I can't really blame her.

I asked for the link to "that other place" which is how I found this blog, and lo and behold here is Josh, Lisabea, and Erastes! This IS a small world. *waves*

I do think DA should moderate its comments, too.
dakotaflint
Jan. 13th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Re: hi there
Hey there! It's interesting that this post was linked to but however you got her, thanks for stopping by!

I really appreciate hearing all these different opinions. I will say, though (I guess this is my disclaimer lol), that the DA review just provided the springboard for something I've been thinking about for a while. So I was looking to have a general discussion, though I'm not sure I made that clear, because I have nothing against Dr. Sarah--I read another review of hers and thought it really well done--and I've never even heard of the author or book in question until just the other day when I read a review of it by Elisa Rolle.

But anyways, thanks for your thoughts on this matter!
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dubious_virtue
Feb. 12th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Coming to the conversation a month late and five bucks short...
Yes, I think the review is angry, because apparently the reviewer was angry at having spent time and money on a "bad" book.

But isn't that the risk you run when you choose to review books, either as a profession or a hobby?

Dear Author turned me off eons ago, mostly because the tone of the reviews is too often personally insulting (no, they've never reviewed my work). I have no problem with negative reviews. You don't like my book? Tell the world, and tell them why. I have a whole drawer full of Big Girl Panties - I can take it.

But any review that starts with "Dear Author," and goes on to explain exactly how said author screwed up (or, in the opposite case, hit the ball out of the park) is BOUND to come off as a personal comment on the AUTHOR, and only secondarily, the BOOK. The fact that some folks can't seem to get a grip on that concept...well. I think they CAN get a grip on it, but don't want to. After all, if they changed their tone, they likely wouldn't attract their daily quota of hits from the other folks who break out the popcorn at the first whiff of carnage.

Yeah, I'm not impressed.
dakotaflint
Feb. 13th, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
Re: Coming to the conversation a month late and five bucks short...
Hey, better late than never! :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I always appreciate hearing what other people have to say.

I don't know if I'm more sensitive to this now as I become more and more published, but I really cringe these days when I read a review that tears the book or author apart (whether I'm familiar with the work/author or not). I think you can state why you didn't like something without going for the kill shot.

And although I did reference Dear Author, I honestly did mean to keep this more general because they are not the only ones I had in mind. Some days I feel like that's all I see, unfortunately.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
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