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Prepare for your work to be destroyed – #indiepub

Playing for me in the studio (c) Kriss Weekley 1997-2011

A Critical Response by Geoff Horneker

A rare occurrence, there is no cabin goddess today. Today I am at the keyboard, and it is my own worldview that you will experience. – Geoff, the hus. 

May gods show you mercy, for I will not.

Before we begin today, let us observe proper formalities as these are essential and crucial: everything in this post are my own words, my own opinions, my own observations and illumination. Today the cabin is not run by the goddess, today you all get to deal with me. If you have an issue with what I am stating, you will deal with me.  If you take umbrage with my revelations, you visit your grievances upon me. Your problem is with me now.

For those who follow this blog, and for those just joining us today, this is a critical response to not only a specific author, but a behavioral archetype that has become epidemic among the content creators of this new independent scene of book publishing.  I would argue that the indy book scene itself, born up from the social media age, has moved too far, too fast to take in the lessons that other independent mediums, such as music or art, have already assimilated and internalized. You are relative children in the independent movement, releasing your metaphorical progeny borne from your expression and accumulated life experiences to the greater world with a reach more vast than any available to the precursor independent scenes at their points of origin. And as such I have to impart upon all of you a piece of advice already learned by all those who came before: be ready for the death of your metaphorical child.

When we create we pour ourselves into the work. The worst pieces of art, terrible in their execution, form, and idea, are all still massive labors of love. An individual poured time into their work, from concept, to creation, to completion. They pass through numerous bureaucratic hurdles to monetize their creativity, transforming their artistic piece from a private work into a commodity to be sold. Upon this they hang their hopes for a better life, one where they can support themselves and their families and enjoy the elusive dream we all have: doing only what we are most passionate about doing and being paid for it. And at last they have seen their most ardently wished for desires crystalize, their work will go out to the public and they are now officially an artist (by some definitions), and the whole world seems open and full of promise and opportunity…. and then someone gives their book a one star rating and likens their writing style to a paint-thinner-huffing seventh-grader getting a “D” in english.

You are devastated,  furious, vengeful. Your book, filled up with so much of yourself that it has become a virtual homunculi of your deeper persona, has been murdered and displayed as a grim trophy upon a pike, the corpus of your experiences displayed for public ridicule. In horror you retaliate, you indulge in justification, condemnation, and denial. You tell yourself they didn’t fully read it, that they didn’t understand it because they haven’t gone through the same things that you have. They aren’t sophisticated enough to grasp the lofty concepts you were imparting. They missed your subtle and clever cues, your twists of narrative and deeper characters lost upon their unseeing eyes.  They are too base and malformed of character to even conceive of what you have created. They don’t understand you, they’ve got everything you were writing about wrong, they’ve made every faulty assumption about you. They don’t know what you’ve been through to reach the places you did to write your book. They are incorrect in their historical assessments, false in their estimation of your ability to grasp the particulars about what you have written. They are wrong about your grammar and spelling, you did not need more editing before publication. You make assumptions about the individual who made the criticism, you believe they are uneducated. They have no life save one to visit slings and arrows upon your masterwork. They have no relevant knowledge by which to judge you. They must be tainted by madness to not recognize your genius. They are part of conspiracy, bourne of petty jealousies at the bright light shining from your vision that they will forever be denied in the foul shadows they come from.  Let me help you understand something vital: you have failed this critic.

The person experiencing your art cannot fail in the experiencing. When someone misinterprets your work, they have not failed to understand it, you have failed to communicate it to them.  When they find the reading unenjoyable you have failed to make it interesting for them. When they disbelieve the authenticity in the environments and characters you have created you have failed to give them confidence in what you are writing. It is as simple as this truth: every person who dislikes your work has been failed by you. This is perfectly acceptable. The greatest mistake you have made is thinking that everyone will enjoy your work. No one, no one, enjoys total success with their audience.  Most people will hate what you create. This is something you must learn and accept now. William Shakespeare, for all of his influence and fame, wide-reaching enough to be taught everywhere hundreds of years after his death, is still considered indecipherable and hated by a significant portion of the population. There will never be a mass-consensus on any work of art created. Ever. You will not be the exception.  Nevermind your friends and family or the praise they give you when they say they understand what you are trying to convey, that it all carries across, that everyone will “get it”. Don’t believe them when they say that everyone will love your book, and it will only take getting your book released for the world to embrace who you are. You can never trust your loved ones to give you objectivity, and they cannot give you any measure of unbiased criticism. They know you, they know about you, and while their comments can be useful as a guide they are not representative for what may happen when you release your book to the world. Once your book has been released your control, your safety, the protection of your feelings, all evaporate. There is no expectation that criticism will be served to you only by the terms and conditions you are comfortable with. You are not entitled to any manner or kind of “good” review, or that dissenting voices will silence themselves in deference to your feelings. You are not guaranteed to be understood, or recognized as a master crafter of narrative and world-building. The circumstances of your personal life, the experiences you write about and what they can do to your psyche if savaged are of no concern or consideration to the public. Whatever your delusions and misconceptions are, you will meet sharply with the realities of releasing your work to the public: people are going to hate what you write. What you do with the information says much more about the kind of artist you will become.

When you are faced with a poor review, measured by whatever metrics-du-jour are being used by the outlet releasing the review, you have two stances you can take: Nobility, or mediocrity.

Nobility is bearing the review in good grace, thanking the reviewer for their time and consideration, even if you disagree entirely with their observations. Looking through their review you can critically consider what has been stated as flaws in your book and look for ways to improve how you write. You also can evaluate whether the critic in question is among the audience of people you are trying to reach. A critic may not be the individual you were writing for, and it is the very heart of naivety to make the assertion that you will appeal to everyone, or should expect that everyone can be a fan of what you do.  If you answer that you write only for yourself then acknowledge that you may not know who will enjoy what you have written,  your positive reception has every potential to seem as scattershot as your writing may very well be.  Remember this: you will not be everybody’s thing, but you will be some people’s thing. Improve where you can to most entice those who do enjoy your vision and creation. And if you don’t want to change for anyone then resolve yourself to the fact that there is every possibility that there may be no-one outside of yourself who will follow where you go with your writing. If you are truly writing only for yourself than this should not bother you in the slightest.

Mediocrity is responding with personal attacks or outrage on the critic themselves, either directly or through a similar public forum. It is critiquing the review, dismantling their assumptions, experience, and knowledge of the work. In many cases this can be personal character assassination or questioning their validity to sit in judgement of your work. The worst offenders will try to have the review removed, altered, or worst of all calling for a complete rewrite with a positive outcome. They will have the critic assaulted online, attempting to damage their credibility with touring companies, authors, other bloggers, publishers, and the very online retailers who sell the books. All manner of legal action may be threatened, or their own livelihoods as critics jeopardized through assurances they will be ruined professionally if they do not cease in denigrating the work in question.  Fury and moral superiority is what you cloak yourself with, seeing yourself as the underdog and champion of the rightness of your work when you look in the mirror.

And in some cases the person adopting this poor coping mechanism will “win”, that the review in question will be taken down, or changed. The critic may tire of the constant attacks, or may be so hindered by the pressure applied to the online trappings of their profession that they quit the very act of criticism due to emotional fatigue or damaged reputations. You may feel that you have succeeded, that you have won a victory for artistic expression. You may bask in your friends’ and family’s adoration of your triumph over this cruel and misguided review, and feel that you are finally vindicated. But let me be very clear about this truth, which is immutable: you cannot “win” by silencing a negative opinion of your work, no matter the outcome.

In this age of social media, nothing recorded is ever undone. Nothing exposed to the internet can ever be hidden again. When you rage and gnash your teeth publicly to the cheering applause of your supporters you may feel you have been shown to be in the right. But the spectacle of your actions and the display you have put forth for the mass public will be seen by far more as a knowing dishonesty. That you have rebelled against the very concept that any can have an opinion of your book that differs from your own. That you have taken from them a criticism they may have found to be honest and useful to them, and that you will give them only falsehood in the perception of your work drawn only from the most positive of your reviews. And no matter how many supporters you have, there will be many more that will remember your name, your book, and the scandal you have created as heavy-handed censorship borne of a developmentally stunted strength of character that has not learned to develop a thicker skin to handle criticism in the public eye. Your book will be remembered, not for its own merit, but for its link to a critic whose opinion you showed everyone to be more than you could handle.  Most important to consider lest you lead yourself astray by your own delusion: removing all bad reviews of your book does not make your book “good” to those who would have agreed with that critic. You will not change the fact that you will experience people hating what you have written again, and again, and again.

Geoff seccundusI have spent the better part of two and a half decades practicing to be a musician, and my chosen genre that I have devoted my heart and soul to is Heavy Metal, to put it into the broadest possible definition for those unfamiliar with all of the nuances of the genre. This carries with it a built-in level of scorn and contempt from the overwhelming majority of the population. Most everyone will not only hate what I write, they will hate the entire genre. While accepting this is easy on its face, it is another thing to accept it in the day-to-day reality.

The first review my band Secundus ever received in 1994 was for a song we had submitted for a compilation tape released locally in Fairbanks. The song was titled “Let the Voices be Heard” and was principally about the significant unreported cases of child abuse and molestation in the United States. The song musically was our best representation of where we wanted to be, it featured all the new hallmarks of our own craft, new techniques we’d practiced, a new lower tuning that took months and months to perfect, the vocals that were the best representation of what a human voice could do in gruff, growling style in the absolute lowest vocal registers I’d ever achieved, and the lyrics pulled directly from our personal experiences in horrible upbringings that are sadly all-too-common. We were incredibly proud of our achievement, we felt this song could state in 3 minutes and 57 seconds what we were all about, and what we’d struggled against to achieve. And in a local zine about Fairbanks nightlife and social scenes a music critic, who admittedly did not listen to metal, stated the title of the song was ironic because the voices were completely unintelligible on the recording. He went on to say the music itself was needlessly fast, and missed the entire point of ensuring the audience could even follow what was going on, making a reference to the movie “Amadeus” and the criticism given to Mozart that his piece contained “too many notes” while calling for us to learn this lesson for ourselves, and he finished his review by urging his readers to stay far away from anything we were doing as severe brain damage could be the only possible outcome of exposure to our music.

geoff growling bloodAnd I was angry, bitterly angry. I was outraged that he did not understand what we were trying to do. I justified myself by stating that he did not have any concept of what metal was, what the goals and standards were, and could not accurately judge what we had created. I felt he shouldn’t review things he knew he wouldn’t like, that it should only be given to people who liked the genre in question, that it should only be given to people who understood. I was extremely angry that he had completely misused the reference from “Amadeus”, inadvertently supporting our work rather than bashing it (go watch the film again). I was not vindicated by his mistake but outraged that we could not even have his best in condemnation. But mostly I was a hurt 18 year old who had devoted everything of himself for four years into an artistic project to finally have it recognized and torn asunder in a tiny paragraph in the back of an 8 page local zine. It took six months for me to come to terms with the review, I poured over it every week. Everything I’d done reduced to ashes in a quarter page blurb.  But as time went on I came to realize it didn’t matter if he liked it, I had not succeeded in making him a fan but that was okay. I wasn’t interested in changing what I loved doing to fit what he wanted, so I would always fail him. I would fail most people. But there were a minority, people similar to myself, who might like it. I would learn what I could, work to perfect what I could perfect, and accept the audience I would receive from indulging my own desires to create what I loved. It wasn’t that I was angry at the people who hated my music, it was just that I didn’t care anymore. I would take whatever was useful from the criticisms I received, and I would disregard what wasn’t useful to me if it involved changing what I wanted to do.

In the end, when we release our work to the world, we have to accept the reality that our work may be utterly destroyed by those who view it. We must accept that the only thing we can ever ask of critics is that they give an honest opinion of our work, and realize that the worst thing they can actually do to us is tell us our work is incredible for them when it is not. That the growth we must engage in as artists is being able to accept the murder of our work, the savage deaths that others may visit upon what we create, and that our progression hinges upon our being able to accept it, learn what we can from it, and move on to the next piece we are creating. Accepting that our audience will be whatever size our creation draws and that we have no right to expect it to be limitless, and work either towards perfecting what we do for that audience, or if we write only for ourselves having the self-awareness to acknowledge that by satisfying only our own ego that we will get whatever audience we get, enduring whatever negative outcomes may result in pursuing what simply makes us happy.

Your art will get the recognition it deserves.

If you cannot handle a bad review and the emotional fallout thereafter then your only recourse is to never release your work to the public. For the rest of you, the welcoming audience for your book has already been determined upon its creation, look to your reception and determine how you will shape the audience of your next work.

Geoff-Studio-ShootGeoff resides with the author of Cabin Goddess, is a musician and writer himself. He rarely shares his thoughts but when he does they are words to be read and ingested with a fine wine and a side of reality! Geoff’s ABOUT page has much of who he is from Kriss’ point of view, much to Geoff’s chagrin. He recently has created a twitter account and is planning on continuing his blog over at IN THE SHADOWS OF THE CABIN.

TWITTER FACEBOOK

24 Comments

  1. I have been shocked at the way in which people, reviewers and bloggers write. I dare say if it is in the case of a musician then the author most likely wants to go for shock value and does the review in a way to garner attention for themselves.

    Just the other day someone I gifted a book to wrote to me because she didnt like it. So she posted her review and within a few minutes 4 of this author’s minions wrote nasty comments to her. She called them a bully and they kept it up.

    If someone writes a bad review do you think it is necessary for the reviewers friends/minions to say they are sorry she was tortured reading a book? I think not, you got it for free and you owe a review that should not be viscous, catty and personal.

    I agree with accepting the reality and you cant please everyone else, but if you dont like something say it with class.

    • This is from Kriss. I did not get the book for free, I PAID FOR IT. I can write what I want, and btw my review if you are curious CAN BE READ on AMAZON and I DID review with CLASS btw. I agree if you don’t like something don’t be a dick, but you know what? They can be idiots and it will show. If they don’t write with class, such as I did, then they won’t be taken seriously.

      Geoff can address the rest of this.

      • I think you mis understood what I wrote. I was referring to myself.

        • I know you were responding about your book being gifted and reviewers doing what they did. I just wanted to make it clear what happened with me. No worries.

  2. *standing and clapping*

  3. Good words Geoff and I concur. I have two personas that I write my reviews with one is a crazy southener and the other is just me. I can honestly say that when I review I rephrane from attacking an author. I attack the work and say what I didn’t like that the author did. I rarely write bad reviews and will often tell whoever asked me that I didn’t think I could give a good review for it, if I didn’t like it. I guess my point is that I should be able to say how I feel about something I read and the author should realize that you cannot dictate someone’s feelings. If you don’t like it think about what has been said. Ask yourself is this towards me or my book? Thanks Geoff!

  4. Standing ovation from me!

  5. Ok, this is a test, since the possibility the page is not allowing comments is in question, so we shall see if this makes it to the page.

    • and yes it does, curious….

  6. Well written and completely accurate. Can’t find the right words except Geoff said all I think but so much better than I ever could. Thank you.

  7. Amen. You stated that perfectly. The current crop of “Indie” writers reminds me of that old Beetles song “Paperback Writer.” They want to make money selling books, not realizing that most published writers never make enough with their writing to live on, not even most NY Times best sellers.

  8. As a reader I am not 100% sure. I see bad reviews on some of my favorite books. Some I understand. They just didn’t like it. Others it’s clear the person just didn’t “get” the book. That really does happen. (Though it is better for an artist to assume it’s their fault, even if it’s not really always the case.) but reality is, some people in this world ARE dumb, and if an author dumbed down a book for those few so that they were “failing” to get their point across, they would very likely end up beating their more intelligent readers over the head with the obvious. No reason for an author to get butt hurt over it, even if the reader really DIDNT get it. Who cares. Not everyone is going to “get” or love the same books.

    • If the reader does not understand what the author has written, they have failed them. The point is that the artist will fail people, no one can succeed with them all. It is better to determine who you would like to succeed with and aim your craft at those people. But if your reader does not understand, it is your failure as an author, that isn’t a flaw, just a reality. If you write “War and Peace” and release it to kindergartners you are likely to have a massive amount of failures with your audience, that you meant it for others to read is irrelevant to the fact that you failed to make yourself understood to your tiny audience (tiny in stature, not size). If one of those children expressed they did not enjoy your book, then you may not have much need of the criticisms they offer, as it does not apply for the audience you meant your work to reach, but you could attempt to sway your audience by altering your style with your next book to appeal to these children if that is what you wanted to do. The fact that you will fail shouldn’t be the barrier to your creation, it should be accepted as an inevitability, and you will change your style only as much as you want to reach the audience you want, if you do not care about the audience then the negative review should not matter, as you are not interested in making the changes outlined in the criticism. To use the example above, you could choose to alter your next book “A Tale of Two Cities” to include more gingerbread dragons if that is what your 5 year old critic has stated was most lacking in your novel, or to take out the words they don’t know, or you can evaluate and determine this is not the audience that you are searching for and disregard the feedback and continue with what you want to do. But know that it is always a failure when the audience does not understand. When they do not comprehend what you have communicated, it is your failure. Don’t take this as a bad point, you may not have wanted to succeed with them in the first place.

  9. Geoff, You hit the issue right on the nose.

    First of all, editorials, criticisms, (and parodies for that matter) are NOT considered copyright infringement according to US (and Canadian) law, so the would-be lawsuit would have backfired.

    I also speculate that the threat is really a (quite unethical) means to make money off the book.

    If this were one of my photographs, I would accept the criticism, and LEARN FROM IT, rather than going around suing reviewers, the latter will only develop a reputation for one who is to be feared and hated by many.

    If there is one thing I learned from the eighteen years I have been online, is that one should think twice BEFORE posting anything on the Internet (let alone social media). Anything negative will come back to haunt you down the road.

    • No, sadly in 18 years I feel humanity has proven it will not only not learn from what the internet has historically taught us about the devolution of public discourse, but that we will backslide into a new vitriolic level of commentary and communication. This is largely irreversible, the battle lost more than a decade ago and the spirit of an age being something that is impossible to return to. But there will be new methods of communication, the medium will continue its frightening level of evolution, and we will eventually receive the public consensus we want in a different form. Or maybe I am simply too much of an optimist.

  10. I still remember one of the first reviews I posted on my blog, the author found it read it and commented about how I was the only one who left a bad review and how I didn’t understand what the book was about. I was so shocked and modified that I did another post wondering if I had done something wrong or perhaps didn’t express myself well. I may not be the best reviewer but I know what I like and don’t. I felt the author was going a route that had been done to death and was so boring and contrived. She didn’t like this and in doing so made me doubt what I had written. Now after being older and wiser I realise I’m more than entitled to my own opinion her work was not well done and contrived but also that what I alone and what she alone thought didn’t matter. The opinion on a topic from 100 different people will vary 100 different ways. One when creating a work that is open to interpretation and criticism had better gather some thick skin lest they eat themselves away attempting to make everyones opinion conform to their own. Something they will fail hopelessly at.

    Great post Geoff.

  11. Just when I think I couldn’t like Cabin Goddess (as a blog) or Kriss anymore than I already do, I read such gold as this. Good job hitting the nail right on the head, Geoff. This whole ordeal has been entirely ridiculous and overly dramatic for something as simple as a girl not liking a book. I read all the time, normally at least a book a day. It’s absolutely silly to assume that every day I’m going to read another amazing book that I absolutely love.

    There was a point where I was actually afraid of writing a review when I was going to give a book 1-2 stars. This is because I had a massive issue with a specific author who didn’t like my feedback that there were too many grammatical errors (I literally could not comprehend what was being written). I even went as far to say that if the book was edited, I would gladly read it again and edit my rating and review appropriately. Apparently that wasn’t enough, I was harassed on FB by her friends. After that I wouldn’t write a negative review… Then I read this book with GLOWY MEGA BRIGHT FIVE STARS OF AWESOMENESS. Seriously. 75 5 star reviews out of about 80 reviews. Who can go wrong with that?! It was the biggest pile of crap I had read in a long time. (Kriss, I’m sure you remember me bitching about this one! =P). I went through these beautiful reviews and saw that only 1/3 of the reviews were actually verified purchases, and the majority of them were only 1-2 sentences just saying “Awesome! Blah blah **fill in the 20 word minimum**”

    These reviews, even though they can be painful for the author, are so necessary! I will NEVER AGAIN, read a book by the author that I had that experience with, not because her book showed no future promise, but because I felt cheated that I paid for a book that was that horrible when the reviews were probably all her friends that hadn’t read it but wrote a nice review “for their buddy”. As a reader and a purchaser, we deserve to know if there’s something in a book that isn’t going to sit well with us. I don’t even read 5 star reviews anymore, I read the 1-3. I want to know if there’s something there that will upset me, or something I’ll find offensive, or just something that I will not like.

    If I had started this sooner, I’d not have wasted my hard earned money on books involving incest, “Sexy Rape” (as if that even exists), or a plethora of things that may be fantastic for one reader, but just are not for me. Keep writing these reviews Kriss, I want to know where I shouldn’t be spending my money. <3

  12. Beautifully said. I am an indie in both music and books. Like you said, looking for that dream of doing what I’m passionate about and supporting a family at the same time. The internet is a tough place. I published with the expectation of the one star, terrible review. It hasn’t happened yet, but I know it will. Just par for the course as they say. Thank you for this piece.

  13. Great post! I plan to save this one to help me keep the right perspective and not stoop to mediocrity

  14. Brilliantly articulated, Geoff. As an author, I must acknowledge that not everyone will love my books. I respect that, even as I may or may not agree with their opinions. However, I always respect that they took the time to read my work and have an opinion. Take the high road is my motto. Ranting and venting at the reviewer just looks ugly. Period. Not to mention the lack of professionalism…

  15. As an Indie author, I have seen the worst of the worst reviews on my work, and the best of the best. I am forever held up to this comparison standard that goes something like, “Is Travis as good as a traditionally published author?”

    I have seen reviewers write a college-grade thesis on the themes in my books, themes that I never noticed until the reader pointed it out. Sorry ladies, when a vampire tears out someone’s throat with its teeth, its not a metaphor, its just a throat-ripping bad-ass scene.

    I have met many readers who take their reading experience in an intensely personal way, and their reviews are written with intensely personal critique.

    I have been burned in a review by a few readers like that.

    I have seen immature, foolish authors go to war against a reviewer with pitchforks and every kind of creepy internet-stalker, underhanded, dastardly deed known to mankind. I know some day there will be a story in the news of an author who chainsaws a reviewer and their PC, in attempt to erase the bad words.

    So, I have loads of sympathy for reviewers who are the victim of psychotic, immature, and unprofessional authors.

    I have talked down dozens of authors who were freaking out on bad reviews. I have done my level best to point out the potential learning experience that some of these reviews present. Often the critique is valuable.

    I have looked at my own work more critically and made changes based on some things mentioned by reviewers – it was my first novel. These days, I take in the lesson, and consider it when writing my next novel.

    As an author, I hate reading those reviews. I not only hate reading them on my own work, I hate reading them on another author’s work. Its like watching a train wreck in progress.

    So, I also have loads of sympathy for authors who have their faces raked through broken glass with a skin-flaying review.

    I guess I’m able to see both sides of the fence.

    My question for reviewers is this: If you really did not enjoy a book, if a book really gave you such an intensely negative experience, why did you finish it?

    Then, after finishing this book which you hated with every fiber of your being, was it really necessary to spew that hatred all over the internet?

    I realize some people feel this ‘integrity’ issue. Some people feel like they maintain their literary integrity as a reviewer by being as brutally honest as they possibly can. There are many reviewers with this notion.

    Me, I review books when I enjoy them. I don’t review books I don’t enjoy, because my attention span and the gazillion other things going on in my life don’t allow me to finish a book if I’m not enjoying it. But that’s me.

    I have a lot of DNFs, and I don’t bother reviewing them.

    Then, of course, there is the other consideration: What’s in it for me to negatively review a book?

    There is no upside for an author who does negative reviews. Its a recipe for problems and headaches and internet wars. So, I keep my negative book opinions to myself, or perhaps I share them with friends over a glass of wine (or shot of tequila as may be the case). I have nothing to gain and much to lose by getting embroiled in negative review drama.

    As an author, I invite people to review my books however they like, but, I respect them more for honestly, and I will respect them less if they review with hatred and spite.

    A hateful review is a form of grandstanding. Its a way to create a controversy that fuels tons of clickthrough traffic and comments.

    Everybody loves to watch someone get roasted publicly.

    There’s a certain rush from getting all that attention, from being that literary integrist who roasts books without flinching.

    Propagating hatred and sarcastic vitriol can be a lot of fun.

    I have roasted a man before, on Goodreads and on my blog, and twitter, and Facebook. The guy had 150 sock puppet accounts on Goodreads and was using them to attack me and many other authors writing in his genre. I felt that righteous fury, that literary indignation. I watched him and his book burn with a smile on my face.

    In looking back, I’m not really so proud of it now. But, at the time, it felt damn good to strike this man who had done something so heinous.

    Does Cabin Goddess scorch books for that rush of righteous fury? I cannot say. I know her reviews are often entertaining, but, when they get ugly, I cringe. I don’t like watching train wrecks in progress.

    I think Cabin Goddess is a woman who has an intensely personal experience when she reads, and she takes that very seriously. I have long feared the day she picks up my books, but, that won’t stop me from checking out her reviews, even if I have to peek between my fingers while I’m reading.

    And you can bet I won’t say a word if she lights my book ablaze across twitter. I’ll roast marshmallows over the ashes of my book and drink red wine until the pain goes away.

    🙂

    • *grin* you make me smile. I guess that if I made it personal it would be one thing. The answer to the question is why I finished it? Because I felt I needed too. I did not want to post things that were really frightenly wrong about the book because I felt that (the book in question) were probably drawn from very personal experiences. Why would I want to dredge that up for the woman, I could tell they were because out of everything I read in the book it was the only thing that read true.

      So I focused on the technical aspects more. I know I nailed it and I asked everyone to not take my opinion about the book. I rarely RARELY bother to take the time to review a book which really was bad IMHO. Because it would be wasting my time. But she had cried foul and so I thought it would be fair and also maybe it just would get better and better or whatever. I make a VERY concerted effort to not make it personal, you know my history, Travis. I really don’t want a hassle. I treated the book like any other book I read. I spoke straight and though it certianly was not thesis worthy, it was not even close to a personal attack. Or a public one. She did not understand the actual concept of Twitter and Triberr. Her accusations of copyright infringement have been covered. A copyright lawyer has looked over everything I did and said I was covered not only by fair use but also by #Sec113 — the “useful article” provision at 17 USC 113(c). I did remove the tweet she lost her mind over. Basically she committed Indiecide or Authorcide. Sigh. Anyway thank you.

      Oh and I think ALL reviews are OK. I have many books I DNF and many I read that I like or don’t like I don’t review. Yes I am emotional and moved so I write or respond. I bought a book. I have poor judgement in trusting people and feeling sorry for someone and giving them a chance. This is all. I never have behaved in a self-pitying manner. I did even read the whole thing Geoff wrote till after I formated it. I love this man and I agree with most of what he said. But this was his thing, as you know! BTW his twitter name is @NapalmGeoff and he is JUST getting started there so be.. no wait belay that… kick his ass LOL (kidding).

  16. Well said – by the both of you, Travis and Kriss. (FYI, I haven’t read the review in question) What I find most interesting and exhilarating about the publishing business right now is what I most hate about it – its volatility. Like most authors, I have a pretty healthy perspective on bad reviews – I don’t like how they make me feel, but in the best cases I can learn something and in the worst cases I can chalk them up to being part of the chatter.

    In the olden days – you know, about five years ago – reviews happened in a handful of places (newspapers, NY Review of Books, NPR etc), and if you were reviewed badly – your book and possibly career as an author – was sunk. And these were often, but not always, classy reviews by knowledgeable,professional critics whose main Achilles heel was the fact that they all went to the same schools and had, by and large, the same tastes in literature. This was/is also true of the editorial staff at the big publishing houses. A lot of authors had to spend years just trying to break through the barriers (if they got through at all) – and once they did, many authors’ careers fizzled because their first book didn’t do very well.

    Today, the good news is, no one book can sink a career. No one review can sink a book. However, authors are faced with sock puppet reviewers (often other authors, like Travis pointed out) who in many cases haven’t even read the work in question and gleefully attribute one star to the work along with general phrases like “Terribly edited” “bad characterization” and “bad plot.” Today’s authors are also faced with having to keep their ratings at about 4 stars or be disqualified from advertising their promos on influential sites like Book Bub. Promos sell books.

    Indie authors – unlike India musicians and Indie film-makers – still face a credibility challenge. And while some of the criticism is valid – there are some bad, sloppy Indie books out there – Indie authors are singled out in this regard. No one goes to see a mediocre guitarist at a music venue and says – “figures, he’s an Indie musician without a real label” afterwards. They just say, “Boy, that guy sucked.” Same with bad Indie films – and there are a lot of them. In fact, many film and music buffs think there’s a certain cache to Indies. That’s not yet the case when it comes to Indie publishing, although I do think perceptions are changing.

    Most readers (at least according to stats) think the Indie revolution in publishing is a great thing and was long overdue. Readers have more choices than ever before and are no longer slaves to tastemakers, who (in my opinion) had gotten a little too into navel-gazing literature that was no fun to read and didn’t really teach us much about being a human being. There are terrific Indie authors out there, but there’s also a huge slush pile and unlike the Indie music and film bizzes, there hasn’t developed – yet, as far as I know – a literary equivalent of a forum like Pitchfork, which has introduced quality Indie music to interested fans. Right now, literature is still a big slugfest – and most of us (and by us, I mean reviewers, authors, readers – even editors and cover designers who are often taken to task by citizen reviewers, too) are just trying to run the gauntlet without getting too many rotten tomatoes thrown in our faces 🙂

    I raise a glass to all of us here. We’re all just trying to do what we love from the bottom of our hearts and we’re willing to take a few punches for it – that’s a great thing. We’re all doing our best to write quality fiction for our readers, and quality reviews for our followers. And let’s take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have a passion and have the guts to execute to our vision. *Please excuse any typos, etc. It’s Sunday morning and I’ve got three kiddos interrupting me every 5 seconds.

  17. Well, the people that like it are the people you wrote it for.

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