I know there’s no such word. I just made it up. NOT THE POINT. The point is that when I’m really into writing a novel like I am this latest one, it makes it VERY hard to buckle down and focus on freelance work. Add to that the fact that I’m STILL staying up too late and getting up too early (damn you BBC!), so I’m kind of fuzzy anyway, brain-wise. (I’m well aware of the irony that the fiction, my great love, is what makes me little to no money, while the freelance works makes all my money. I suspect my insistence on loving the former more may stem from my general dislike of doing things that I’m supposed to do because others say I should do them. I DO NOT RESPECT YOUR AUTHORITAH!)
So of course I only want to do FUN things! Develop my new fictional world, watch Dr. Who (alternating with a shot of Sherlock now and again — WHY CAN’T THERE BE MORE EPISODES BEFORE NEXT YEAR? WAAAAH!) and not have to think about DVD encrypting software. Luckily, it’s not due until tomorrow afternoon, so maybe I’ll try something radical tonight like, I don’t know… going to sleep BEFORE three am, and finish it when I’m fresh and tend to do my best work-work, in the morning-early afternoon.
I want some hummus. No, seriously. That’s where my mind keeps going. Really spicy hot pepper hummus. I would just make some, but I don’t have any flax seeds or tahini, so alas, I’ll have to settle for the store-bought kind. Dip some veggie sticks in that baby, and…
Okay, I might be drooling a little, now.
Oh, before I forget, I have a brief commentary on the whole Stop the Good Read Bullies Kerfuffle (Sorry, not providing links to that garbage — Google it if you have to read it). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, move on with your life. It’s the same old internet drama that’s been around since the beginning of Web Time.
1. As a reader, I post what I’ve read and briefly how I feel about it (unless it’s really REALLY good or really REALLY bad). I don’t know the authors, so I always feel guilty about punching somebody’s literary baby in the face. But it’s my opinion, and I don’t mind sharing it. I am well aware that there is supposedly some massive publishing Big Brother watching or whatever the current trend is that can ruin my career… whatever. Mostly I just want to keep track of what I’ve read.
2. As an author, I’ll be honest… I don’t read reviews. If a reviewer has the courtesy to send me a copy by email, I’ll read it, and respond, at least to thank them for reading. I see constructive criticism as absolutely imperative to “honing the craft” (oy). 9 times out of 10, I go back and read published and even popular stuff I’ve written later on, and I’m just horrified at how crap it is. Believe me, I’m harder on myself than any legit critic ever could be (legit being the operative word in this whole drama. Legit as in “I read the book and did/didn’t like it, here’s why vs. “OMG YOU SUCK DIIIIIIE AND STOP WASTING MY AIR!”). But I learned the hard way a long time ago: do not read reviews on sites like Amazon, B&N, GoodReads, etc, where the monkeys run wild and like to throw mindless poo. I’ve seen many authors blow a gasket over it and just look like asses themselves. There are a couple of writers I no longer read because of that behavior. Especially those who treat their readers like something they have to scrape off their shoe. (Monkey poo! Ha!) Not smart.
— YOU CANNOT PLEASE ALL, OR EVEN MOST, READERS ALL THE TIME. It’s so cliche, but it’s something that a lot of people seem to forget. Just because you love your literary baby doesn’t mean that other people will.
— If you can’t take criticism, honest or otherwise, you’re WAY in the wrong business. Who ever told any writer that they were entitled to boundless love and praise? Bad news: even the best selling, most beloved authors on the planet get slaughtered by critics and/or readers on occasion. One book might explode the NYT list, the next might end up in the remainder bin (do they even have those anymore?) after a week. It’s a fickle business, like any of the arts. Personally, I think some of the best-selling books of the past few years have been some of the worst garbage I’ve ever read. But that’s my opinion. Millions of others obviously disagree. It’s their wallet, not mine!
— The fact is, some people are foul, vicious jerks. I have acted like one on occasion, and I have been on the receiving end of some truly horrifying online behavior like threats against my family. But here’s what I learned in Buffy fandom: unless I see someone physically stalking me in real life, I turn and step away from the computer screen for a while. Don’t respond. Delete, if it’s your blog and it’s just too offensive. I learned that lesson the hard way. Yes, that’s right, when it comes to verbal asshattery, you should just shut up and take it. You know why? There’s no point in screaming back. You’re just encouraging the poo-slinging monkeys. If you don’t, they eventually just wander off.
— Honestly? I don’t read reviews either for my or other books, as a rule. Or at least, I very rarely do. I’m just too aware that a critic is simply a reader that writes professionally, and has an opinion that’s no more or less valid than my own. I choose my books carefully, and not based on positive criticism, raves in the media, or any of those things. I count on the opinions of friends whose taste I trust (and let me tell you, Twitlight and 50 Shades of Blech have really torn us apart on that point!), follow a select few writers, read various back covers and inner flaps, and listen to my librarian. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet, even outside my usual genres. Sometimes I’ll read or hear about a book just randomly and take a chance. But I can remember only one, maybe two times when a critical review made me want to read or avoid a book I wouldn’t have checked out for another reason.
3. Giving out someone’s real world information with an encouragement to harass them? No. That should be illegal, or at least actionable. Because there ARE scary psychos out there (witness Aurora) and you never know what will make them snap. Did you get your feelings hurt by a nasty review? Well, this kind of behavior makes YOU THE WORSE PERSON. Stop it.
This is why I’m just not a joiner anymore. There’s always some drama that drowns out what the group is supposed to be. It happens in every single fandom (especially among ‘shippers), it happens in “professional” organizations (I’m looking at you, RWA), and it happens on every forum I’ve ever seen. I got heckled when I was on a panel at a writing convention once — never went back. Who needs that crap? I’d rather talk to myself here and to my friends about things I enjoy. Keeps my blood pressure down. The flame wars? Can’t be won.
So as far as Goodreads go? There are a few reviews of my books there, I think. I’ve never read them. I hope they’re nice, but if not, C’est La Vie. The stars are nice, but they could go down the minute someone who hates me or vampires or books with blue covers or ebooks or covers with lightning on them decides to gather up a few friends to crash the rating. Which is what the GR Bully group is supposedly struggling against. You know what I say to authors who get all hurty when they’re criticized or even beat up online? Take it, cry a little offline, then move on. Seriously. You look like a wanker when you freak out in response. You’re a professional, act like one.
Don’t act like a victim then open a website to do the exact same thing you’re railing on about.
/Seriousity (Yeah, I made up that word too.)
Ah, that hummus hit the spot. See? No drama in hummus. And if there is? Don’t tell me about it, ‘kay?
Oh, I give up on working today. I’m just going to have to get up early tomorrow and finish. I want to write about vampires and refuse to worry that no one will like it when it’s done. Have a good evening, and may your snack food be drama-free.