What do you do when you stumble on a bad review? Or a book review that's nasty? Or better yet, a book review that turns into a bashing of the author, editors and publisher?
Bad is one thing and nasty is another, but bashing is just plain wrong. I know that as a reader myself, I hold such reviews with a grain of salt. Why? Because I know that authors, publishers, review sites, and reviewers are cropping up everywhere. Some are professional, some are not.
Don’t fret! Here’s a list of things to remember:
The problem is that just as some authors can't get their work accepted by a reputable publisher often start their own publishing company or self-publish, some authors open a review site to get free books or simply become reviewers with an established review site. Point in fact, most e-publishers that have been in business for over five years have some credibility or they wouldn't have lasted one year in the e-publishing world.
Reviewers and review sites are like authors and publishers, those that are extremely unprofessional give all a bad name. Remember, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the whole bunch.
With that said, I will share with you a review I received for my published erotica vampire book, Cheating Death, which happens to carry a 4-flame rating. For those who aren’t familiar with erotica, 4-flames = pure inferno. Need I say more?
The review isn’t pretty. Far from it. So you may ask, if it’s that bad, aren’t I afraid of bringing this review into the public eye?
Of course not! If it helps another author gain some clarity as to which reviews to give credence to, I’ll happily share it.
The reviewer obviously got the basic premise of the book, which is a good thing, but he continually misspelled my last name. He has just started the review, but we are already seeing signs of a problem, not a good thing.
He continues on to mention lots of out-of-the-box graphic sex as though it’s a bad thing for a 4-flame erotica book. Hell, at this point I am jumping up and down in my seat screaming, yeah baby! My excitement quickly turns to confusion as I realize that he’s thrashing an erotica book for the graphic sex. Huh? I now start questioning the credibility of this review. Damn! He said such a great thing about the sex, too!
He completely changes the review from being a book review to a company bashing. Yes, you heard right and here I was thinking the review was about my book! I will say this, before you, or anyone states your reputation on a company being a certain way, get some facts. Find out the company's years in business, stability, and so forth, even find out how those affiliated with the company feel about the company, but don't assume something with one glance. Even I have had bad products from a store before, but I didn't trash the store over one flawed product. As for the editing aspect, okay, I’m not perfect, there are some mistakes, but I'll bet his books aren't flawless either because perfection is unobtainable, an illusion, and something no book is, not even NY's. I’ve read many print books with editing faults in them.
As for him pointing out my specific mistakes.
First, any and all Character thought is no different than your thinking, it is in first person, present tense.
Second, most decent publisher's merely point out an error in a character's dialog, but do not change it as characters do not speak grammatically perfect, this includes when the character is talking to you because no one speaks perfect grammar all the time.
Third, editing varies across the board because there is no set standard for fiction. For example: T-shirt, tee shirt, t-shirt, or tee-shirt really does depend on house style and there are more.
Fourth, no one and I mean no one is perfect and mistakes will happen. Maybe the editor or author missed something, or maybe the file weirded out during formatting.
Last, the truth hits me like a freight train. Most self-published authors wouldn’t know this because they haven’t had the experience of working with a publishing house, or an editor. Duh!
Okay, we finally get off the company-bashing soapbox and back onto my book where he again harps on the sex. Jeez, I thought I was confused. Then he calls my vampire characters “amoral and twisted.” I don’t know about you, but that pretty much sums up a vampire. I mean, we’re not talking about fairy princesses. We’re talking about vampires.
Then, as if he doesn’t already have me confused enough, he has to insult me by saying that its written pornography. Heads up, folks, to call an erotica book pornography is deeply offensive to erotica publishers and authors alike because erotica is NOT pornography. If you review an erotica book, make sure you know what you're reviewing. Most people who don't deal with erotica on a weekly basis automatically compare it to pornography and that's what the reviewer did in this case, which is deeply insulting to any erotica reader, reviewer, author and editor.
Even at the end, he justifies his unprofessionalism by blaming the company. I’ve already covered this issue, but it’s obviously necessary to revisit it again. Many publishers and editors take their work seriously. They devote many hours making sure that the manuscripts are as perfect as they can be and for practically mere pennies on the dollar of the book's price.
I’ll be honest. At first I was angry because I received an unsolicited review that tore my book and the publishing house a new asshole. This was supposed to be about me damn it! Not the publishing house, but here’s the truth, and the most important thing to remember: Sometimes it isn’t about us. Emotionally hurt people lash out with vehemence and in my opinion, this seems to be the perfect case in point.
Am I disappointed that he used me as the excuse to attack a publishing house, you bet. Am I angry? No. Sometimes, we need to let people vent in order to work past whatever is making them lash out.
I hope that his next review isn’t filled with as much anger and venom.
What’s your take on it? Read it and tell me what you think.