23 July 2010

Friday Ramblings: Somebody Done Pissed Me Off! Reviews and Reviewing



I never wanted to have one of those blogs that gripped about people or the happenings in romanceland. I always wanted my blog to be about the books and my opinion of those books. However, something happened recently that really pissed me off. I thought about just letting it go, but I find that I can't (i.e., TOO PISSED OFF). So I'm talking about it here.

I review books not only for this, my personal blog, but several other review sites as well. I received a book to review from one of those sites. I read the book, wrote my review, and sent it in. The review was posted. The author had a hissy fit about my review and I think the review site was so taken aback (this was a first for them) that they took down the review.

First off, I know I'm blunt. I can be too blunt at times (just ask my husband – it drives him crazy). But I'm very honest about what I like and don't like in a book. In this particular review, I think I was being pretty darn nice, because there were things that I liked and didn't like. I hyped up what I liked and pointed out what I didn't like and not once did I disparage the writer or the quality of the writing (which I actually liked).

When I found out about this incident, the first thing I did was find other bloggers who wrote reviews about this book. I didn't have to look far because I remembered seeing at least two reviews from blogs I follow about this book. One of the blogs rated it high the other average. But, I noticed that both these reviews focused on the plot and didn't really go into a whole lot of details of their thoughts as they read the book. As everyone knows giving plot summaries of books is not my strongest suit. So my reviews are ALWAYS about what I'm thinking and feeling as I read a book, what worked for me and what didn't. And I think my review of this book reflected that. But, since I'm Twitter friends with one of the other bigger bloggers who I know read the book and posted a review, I contacted this person and sent them my review of this book to see if they thought anything was wrong with what I had written. The return e-mail I had gotten was a big fat WTF the author's on crack (okay, I may be paraphrasing right there - remember I'm pissed right now). The other blogger even pointed out that I had recommended that people buy the book at the end of my review.

I heaved a big sigh of relief that yes as usual I am right and it's just the rest of the world that is crazy! LOL!

Yes, I wished that the review site would've told the author to kiss their butt and left my review up (which in fact they did tell this author that after the shock wore off but not probably not using those exact words). In fact the review site told me that they were never doing this again (taking down a review) and admitted it was they're fault for even listening to the author's insane melodramatic ranting (once again I'm paraprashing, but again I'M PISSED and you get the the drift). However, I'm more annoyed with the author. I think I'm more annoyed because I am a writer myself and I know that being a writer means opening yourself up for other people to read and comment on your work.

When I first began writing seriously, I joined RWA and my local RWA Chapter. I met some published authors and I even had an author who wrote in the genre/publishing house I wanted to write in look at several chapters of my work. When I got my precious story back from this author there were big red X's over pages and pages of my story. And I learned rule number one in becoming a writer. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU! EITHER LEARN AND DEVELOP BY WHAT'S BEING SAID ABOUT YOUR WORK OR IGNORE IT. That was a lesson that I've taken to heart. Apparently this is a lesson that this author forgot or never learned. I think the author assumed that because a publisher brought their work everyone was going to say that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Do I have a point to all this? Some great insight to end this blog post off so that we as readers, writers, and authors can all come together and live in peace? Nope. Can't think of a one. I'm still annoyed and I still think the author was a big fat moron.

Thank you for listening.

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22 people posted their 2 cents:

Mandi said...

In my opinion, a review should never be taken down (unless an author is personally attacked or there is something obscene etc...) It really bothers me when I hear a site has removed a review based on pressure from an author.

What is the point of writing a review if the site is going to take it down when the first hint of criticism arrives? If all we do is write positive reviews, that helps no one.

I'm sorry this happened to you and I hope getting this off your chest makes you feel better :)

Marq said...

That totally sucks. Your review should not have been taken down. You weren't personally attacking the author. You were giving YOUR OPINION! That's what a review IS! I don't understand why some author's don't get that!

So far *knocks on wood* an author hasn't commented on my less than flattering reviews. But like you, I try to keep it balanced. I talk about what I liked and what I didn't like. My last review (the snarky one) at the end, I clearly stated that I love the author's other books, just not that one. And that I would definitely continue to read the author's books.

As long as you're fair, there is no reason for any author to have a temper tantrum about a review.

Karen said...

If we only post what the author wants us to say in a review why bother writing reviews? Just let them blog about how wonderful their book is. Most of us don't want to write anything bad about a book anyway. Who wants to waste time reading things we don't like?? I've had some authors quibble over what I said (but not get crazy) but most have thanked me for my input - a few agreed with what I had to say.
Keep writing your reviews honestly!
Personaly I don't even trust or read blogs that only put positive reviews unless they state that they are only reviewing their favorites.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

That's awful. I get that the author was upset, but I think that it could've been handled better. You can't force yourself to write a glowing review of a book you hated. I had a book I trashed (one of the few times I've done it) and know that other bloggers hated the book, but gave it so much praise in their review, that I was like "Did I really have that convo about hating that book with you?" I prefer honest, snarky, blunt reviews over honeyed ones any day of the week.

Lynette said...

Thank you guys. You're making me feel so much better! I don't think it was the review site's fault. I think they were just startled and taken off guard by the nutty author (IMHO).

Venting help. I'm able to just roll my eyes and laugh about it now.

Leontine said...

I so understand your pissed attitude Lynette!! Especially how you've written the review, it should never have been taken down but each reviewer/reviewsite learns as they go along. This is just bad etiquette on the author part and unfortunately it will not be the last time such a thing happens :(

Mollie said...

That sucks. I think the site should, if they don't already, have a policy about the reviews posted. That way when nutso authors show up they can say "see here we said we'd HONESTLY review your work, not necessarily POSITIVELY review it...".

Fiction Vixen said...

I have to say I'm shocked the review site took the review down. I'm sorry this happened to you. :(

Lori said...

Wow. Color me surprised that they took down the review. And shaking my head at another episode if authors behaving badly.

Smokinhotbooks said...

I can see why a review site would panic and take it down, but at the same time I don't believe reviews should ever be taken down (unless, like Mandi said, it was defaming the author). Readers need to read both positive and negative reviews about a book. This would piss me off.

Diva's Bookcase said...

Call me crazy, but I thought the point of doing a review was to give your honest opinion? So what if the author didn't like your review, the site that you reviewed for should have stood behind the review regardless and never thought about taking it down or even editing it. They just showed how little they value a reader/reviewer opinion. Apparently the author or publisher's opinion meant more so why don't they just not ask for feedback.
That site should be put on blast because you are probably not the only one that this has happened to. None of your reviews that I have read have been backhanded or offensive. They are simply your feelings on a book. You didn't post a "Don't buy this s*it" banner or anything. And authors should learn that it is a possibility that they won't always hear 5 star reviews. When they put a book out, they are asking for an opinion. If authors want all glowing reviews, they've got two choices:

1. Write a good book!!!!!!
2. Send $$$ with your book. (Sorry but you can't pay the world to like you, so stick with #1!)

Lynette said...

Thanks for the support guys. You are making my day!

My review was put back up, and yes after this the site is putting together a review policy. Like I said, I think everyone was just shocked that the author was such a drama queen. LOL!

Vixen Pearl said...

*big hugs* Lynette, I'm sorry to hear this. For what it's worth, I have always found your reviews useful. :) I totally understand about being bummed about bad feedback, but dude, that was just uncool of said author. It's going to happen, and if we go into the field of wanting people to give us that feedback (like I think all writers who put their work out there do) you're bound to find *someone* who doesn't like your work. Lynette, you just keep on telling it like it is, dear. You rock. :)

*giggles @Diva's Bookcase* You said it, not me. But hey, if I hate a book, no amount of money's going to make me say otherwise.

*hugs*
Vixen Pearl
Vixen's Reviews.
PS I have an award for you on my blog if you'd like it.

katsrus said...

I'm glad you put it back up. It's a shame they toke it down in the first place. Should of never happened.
Sue B

Blodeuedd said...

Yikes, now you should not have to take it to down, that is if you didn't personally attack or go really really over board. So the only reviews up should be good ones? I hate that, I want the good and the bad. I want to read about people who hate a book, or I want to read about things that were bad even if the book was good. How else can I make up my own mind?

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

thats aweful and had an incident almost like this from an author and twitter know about --vent away. Never should have been taken down by site.

Donna Cummings said...

I've actually learned a lot by reading reviews and comments that point out what didn't work for the reviewer/commenter. Reading is an emotional investment, and if the reader doesn't get the return they expected, it's good to know WHY. It can be character motivation, or plot holes, all kinds of things. It helps me keep these items in mind when I'm writing my own books.

JenM said...

Thanks for sticking to your guns and being honest. I much prefer blogs where the review is honest. I try to be charitable and assume that bloggers who are positive about every book they read just aren't very discriminating in their tastes but sometimes I have to wonder - do they really like EVERYTHING they read? How is that possible? Of course, I'm now dying of curiousity to know what the book was LOL.

Dren said...

WOW - that sucks rocks! Authors should be careful about throwing temper tantrums about reviews. I'm glad they reposted it for you and good for you for posting YOUR position! A+ for you gurlie!

Twimom227 said...

JUST WOW! You have every right to be upset! While you and I don't always enjoy the same books, you write excellent critiques of novels/stories, and you ALWAYS give me something to think about. That's what I love about your site. You tell it like it is and I truly appreciate that! I think you rock and I'm sad that this happened to you! I'm with Dren - you get an A+!!

Anonymous said...

Hi--I'm sorry that author was vain. But the good news about your experience is that I read about it on a blog I subscribe to, Smexy Books, and was so intrigued that I came over to read your full post on the subject. I liked what you said about how your reviews are less about plot summarizing and more about your thoughts and feelings as you read the book. I've kept my own personal reviews in my journal on books I've read in the past and that was similar to how I operated. So, I've now subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading your future reviews.

Thanks, Jenna

Lynette said...

You guys are awesome and I think I need to send Smexy a big non-lesbian kiss for giving me a shout out and being a great support system! LOL!

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