Monday, February 27, 2012

Them's fightin' words!

I found a great post by Kelly McClymer over at the Book View Cafe Blog:

Writing in the Digital Age: Connecting with Readers: The Stephen King Problem

She makes some really great points on the changing relationship between writers and their readers.

In this digital age, it is much easier for fans (of any media) to interact with their favorite celebrities. It's good, but it's also scary: missteps by celebrities (like going ballistic over a bad review) are far more public, and fans can quickly turn into stalkers thanks to all the personal information available on the Internet (including the stuff celebrities put on social media themselves).

Right now, I'm one of those "toiling in obscurity" writers. For my viewpoint, a fan asking for an autograph would be akin to winning an Oscar, lol--it's something that probably is never going to happen. But as much as it is a problem that I aspire to have, I do already know I will hate it if it ever starts to happen on a regular basis (I like to shop and eat in peace).

Although I've been published, I haven't had to deal with bad reviews . . . yet. Everything I've had published has been short stories in anthologies, magazines, and e-zines, and those media usually don't receive much in the way of review.

But what really struck me the most about her post was her comment on using a reader pseudonym. I read a lot of books, and I'd love to do reviews, but I just think it would be a bad idea.

Bad reviews can start writer wars. Hemingway and Faulkner and Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer spring to mind. There are, of course, many others. For some writers, their feuds are more widely-known than their writing!

Bad reviews can also be a wee bit . . . hypocritical. Speaking of the Stephen King problem. . . . I remember reading Stephen King's comments on Stephenie Meyer. He said, "Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn." That's a terrible thing to say about a writer. He's not knocking the book; he's knocking her writing! As a fan of King, I've had to defend my fandom against people who say I'm wasting my time reading a writer who can't write worth a darn. So in spite of being a fan of King (and a fan of the Twilight books since they turned my reluctant-reader daughter into an avid bookworm), I really feel it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

So instead of doing reviews, I do recommendations. If there's a book that I really enjoyed or found helpful, I'll recommend it. But my policy is that if I can't give a book 5 stars, then I don't comment at all. Then I don't look like a hypocrite and I don't end up in my own Faulkner-esque feud.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly why I have pretty much stopped reviewing books. Several times I locked into reviewing a book as part of a tour and ended up having a difficult time saying nice things about it. I don't want people to say bad things about my writing and I hate saying bad things about other writers, even if it is my honest opinion.


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