Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This is Why I Like My Bubble

I like my bubble. More than you probably know. Why? Because I don't get involved in shit unless I want to. I miss out on the Twitter fiascoes, the Goodreads shenanigans and your general social networking douchery. And I'm okay with that. I came across Stacia Kane's post about authors vs. bloggers a little while ago via Wicked Lil Pixie and I kinda went for serious? Again? Of course Stacia's post is thoroughly brilliant and should be read by all. It makes me all tingly in my cockles when authors use 'fuck' in a self-deprecating manner.

And then I came across this via Publisher's Weekly and it makes me want to punch a baby in the face. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Why are negative reviews such a huge problem? I'm not understanding it. I'm really not. Well, maybe I am . . .

Why I think people absolutely lose their shit over blogger-written negative reviews -
  • We're influential - first and foremost. Anyone that tells you we're not is swimming in a pool of liquid denial. As someone that has single-handedly amped up the sales of a book (right, Ilsa? :) ), as someone that's part of a community that has affected book cover changes when even the AUTHOR couldn't get it done, to say we're not influential is like saying Stephen Hawkins isn't all that smart.
  • We're an unruly mob with a lot of power - see above re: influential. Add in our inability to be controlled. We don't work for anyone but ourselves. We're not 1099 independent contractors. We're not on anyone's payroll. We don't have rules. We don't have guidelines. We're a free for all. Our power is unadulterated.
  • Fear - pish and paw and pfft all you want. There is a fear there that we, the unruly, heinously powerful mob, can bury a book before it even has a chance. With all the power we wield, we can make books, and we came break them. In theory. Back an animal into a corner, make it look like it has no way out, what does it do? It starts lashing out. Because it's afraid.
  • We can get our hands on the product no matter what and review it whether you want us to or not. Book stores. Gotta love them.
This, of course, is actually assuming WE CARE THAT MUCH. Chances are, we don't. I know I don't. It's an opinion, of which people are entitled. Trying to browbeat someone into writing a review one particular way to suit whatever isn't an effective means of getting what you want. It just ends up making one look like a douche. Someone doesn't like your book. Boo fucking hoo. That someone decided to call your MC TSTL and supplemented his or her words with succinctly placed animated gifs and You Tube videos. How about seeing it for the creative piece it actually is, being honored that someone actually put in that kind of effort on YOUR novel to get their point across and, I don't know, LAUGH AT YOURSELF??? Where did all the senses of humor go? Are we supposed to be considering everything that we read lit-ra-ture? Should our reviews in kind be lit-ra-ture in order to be taken seriously and not lambasted to within an inch of its life?

For serious. I'm not trying to demean any author's work. As a writer I'm well aware of what goes into a novel. Every letter is a piece of my soul put down on paper, or whatever. I'm also aware that an opinion isn't an axe through my chest either. And I'm not going to make it my life's mission to shit on every single person that criticized me. There are far better things to do with my time. Like taking all that negative into consideration because maybe, just maybe, all those negative reviews might have a point. And while it can't be fixed in the current book, well, there's always the future.

So what the FUCK are people's problems? Why are people going feral on reviews? Am I right? Is it the fear that some random schmuck, banded together with all the rest of the random schmucks, can actually affect the sales of a book? Is it because people are still living by the adage "unless you have something nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Or are they just getting caught up in the flurry and jumping in as their typing fingers allow? What is it? Someone please explain this to me. If we are so fucking terrible, uncouth, uneducated, smart-mouthed little shits, why do we keep getting books?

Or how about . . . publishing something that won't make us want to tear our eyes out reading it? Something of quality, perhaps? Instead of yet ANOTHER copycat of that angel story or this dystopian trilogy or vampires, FUCKING VAMPIRES? Because, in my experience, from what I've seen, that's what's driving us insane; more of the same. Quite frankly, it's insulting. And that's just the covers. Never mind the redundancy between the pages where you can swap out characters from book to book and still end up with the same damn story written by different authors. How about the problem is addressed at its source instead of screaming at people who are merely reacting to shut the fuck up and deal with it?

The truth of the matter is no one book is going to please everyone. Why this needs to be reiterated, I have no idea. There are going to be people that won't like something, to varying degrees. And thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, they are given the opportunity to express their opinion as lavishly as they deem fit. And that's okay. Yes, it's okay. Because there are going to be people that love your book and the reality is, even the people that are ripping you a new one are still exposing others to it. How do you think I got to reading TWILIGHT? I just HAD to see if it was as bad as everyone said (yes, yes it was). But I read all four (I'm still not sure why). So what's bad about that again? I picked up the books BECAUSE people were shitting on it. So . . . the problem is . . .

No. I will not shut up because I didn't like a book. In case you haven't noticed, that's not what I'm about. And neither should anyone else. People should be ASHAMED of themselves for scaring book bloggers out of posting negative reviews. Ashamed. In some circles, that would be called bullying. You know, intimidating others in order to get your way? It's okay to have an opinion to someone else's opinion. But threatening to blacklist bloggers when they start to query should they be writers? Really, how childish can you get? Or tag teaming a bad review because the reviewed is your friend? Seriously? Are we fourteen again? Are you gonna trip her in gym class too? Seriously, how fucking immature has this gotten? How about we all grow the fuck up, accept the fact that we're not Nazis with one brain and move on with our lives? Is it really worth the effort to chisel someone down to nothing because they expressed their honest opinion about a book? Did it make you feel better? Can you rest your head on the pillow easier? Does sleep come quicker? How about next time you think about who's on the other side, and how old that person might just be. How good would you feel tearing the shit out of someone that isn't even old enough to drive? Feel good? You still get that warm and squishy in your cockle area? You don't even need to do that. How about, just for a second, you remember how it feels to voice your opinion and then have someone rip you a new one because it wasn't the right opinion. Right . . .

Let's get this straight, in case my policy isn't clear enough: I WORK FOR THE READERS. I don't work for authors, publishers, publicists or anyone in between. I will give my honest opinion about what it is I read because that's what READERS DESERVE. They don't deserve to be lied to. They don't deserve to be intimidated into reading something. NO ONE deserves to be intimidated into writing a review they don't want to write because they fear the repercussions of what they might say. Don't we fight against censorship every September (and all year round for that matter?)? So what the hell is this shit? Censorship is bad, but only in this instance? It doesn't apply to YOU, you lowly subhuman? You do what I say or I crush you? Please.

I'm going to retreat back to my bubble now because shit like this makes my hair fall out. This is why I don't get involved in social media. This is why I'm up front about the way I work so if this shit ever happened to me I can just point and go "I fucking told you so." Just because I don't get paid for what I do doesn't mean I'm some kind of puppet. You can't shove your hand up my ass and make me talk. But please . . . continue self-sabotaging. The reviewers aren't the ones ruining your book. You are doing a dandy enough job of that all on your own with your inability to NOT lose your shit when something doesn't go your way. Congratulations.
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