It’s easy to get a little angry when some bullshit reviewer trashes your favorite author. It’s even easier to see red when that reviewer trashes a book you’ve written. Letting anger take control is a common occurrence online. In the big bad world of the Internet, we sometimes forget that lashing out, even just a single comment or blog post, has consequences that can bite us in the ass years down the road. Losing your cool over something as trivial as a book review is simply immature and unprofessional. But how do we keep things in perspective? It’s easy. We remember that a book review is an opinion. What one person loves in a book, another might hate.
Ok, I'm going to take off my sarcasm hat for just a minute on this one and try to be completely positive. I try to take every experience and learn from it. What I mean is, even if I read a book I hate, I learn what NOT to do in my writing. I won't name names, but there was one author I read who started out with a fairly interesting premise, but then went nowhere with the plot, the characters had zero growth or arc, and the writing was just good enough that I forced myself to finish the book. I kept hoping and waiting and hoping he would just go somewhere interesting with the story but the ending turned out to have been EXACTLY what he pointed to in the very first chapter! Needless to say, I will never read another of his books again. Funny thing is he is very popular right now and has put out tons of material since then.
And it isn't always (or maybe usually would be a better word) the case that I'll finish reading a bad book. There was one time I read the first book of a long series that an author had written. The first novel was excellent, finished no problem and was excited to read the next. But not even two chapters in I found one of the alien races so unconvincing that I dropped the book right there and never returned. However, this actually inspired me to create one of the alien races in my WIP, taking what I saw to be a core problem in that author's writing, fixing it in my head, then shaking it all up like a magic eight ball before putting them (the alien race I created) to paper in my own universe. And just for the record, what eventually came out was nothing like what that other author had done, I just used what I saw as his shortcomings for my own impetus. But he went on to write several other books in the series, so somebody must have been reading them.
On the flip side, authors who are so damn good, those who are true masters of their craft, who you soak in every word like rays of sunshine, re-reading entire paragraphs just to bask for a few moments in their glory, those types can make you want to throw all your pens (and even keyboards) away and move to a commune in Texas. But this is supposed to be a 'positive' post. ;) So I guess all I'll say about that is you have to just keep writing, let them have that territory, and find your own voice.
"Be happy they at least read it and save the tantrums for something worthwhile, like when the coffee place gets your order wrong twice in a single day." Haha, so true!
Oh don't take off your sarcasm hat! I leave mine on all the time. :)But I know what you mean. And I don't believe that anyone should post only positive reviews either. If a book sucked, I will tell people I think it sucked, but I'll explain why. I really hate those nasty reviews that attack the author and his heritage without telling me what exactly he did to make the reader so angry. The flip side of that is authors need to suck it up if they get a negative review. So do readers. It's an opinion, and when a book is published, the author is putting himself out there, open to both positive and negative feedback. And I've stopped going to coffee places who can't manage a simple double-double. Sometimes I even consider burning the place down, but that would require planning and accomplices. I don't like interacting with people that much.
I'm also a sucker for great characters, and profound character development. I even forgive plot glitches and world inconsistencies if the characters grip me.
But purple prose or just plain awful writing, clogged with modifiers and crappy dialog make a book unreadable for me. No matter how awesome the characters might be, if I cringe trying to discover them, I won't stick with them long enough.
Beauty really is in the eye if the beholder, but any object must be looked at closely enough for the beholder to find beauty in it. Or something.
Or something.... :P In the spirit of this post and what I'm trying to say, I'm currently trying to find the beauty in 50 Shades of Crap. If I find it, I promise to start calling it by its true title. So far...the beauty is proving elusive.